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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New Title for Regional Leader

North Ossetian lawmakers voted Saturday to change the title of the region's leader from president to "head of the republic," saying there are too many presidents in Russia when there should only be one: Vladimir Putin.

The regional parliament voted unanimously to amend the regional constitution to change the local leader's title.

"It's desirable that the executive branch of power … be characterized by a stronger vertical hierarchy, rather than responsibility being spread out horizontally," regional parliament chairman Taimuraz Mansurov said on NTV television.

"In our country, in our state, the head of the executive branch is President Putin," he said.

Mansurov said the change was initiated by the North Ossetian branch of United Russia, which is controlled by the Kremlin and has little ideology other than its support for Putin.

North Ossetian President Alexander Dzasokhov, who had suggested a similar change two years ago, said he would sign the legislation that will make the change, Itar-Tass reported.

"There should be one president in Russia — the president of the Russian Federation," he said.

NTV reported that the change would apply to Dzasokhov, but Dzasokhov's spokesman Murat Tkhostov said it would take effect Jan. 1 and apply to the next leader, Itar-Tass reported.

Dzasokhov's term expires in late January, but he could remain in office if nominated by Putin.