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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gubernatorial Vote Rejected By Medvedev

IZHEVSK, Urdmurtia -- Dmitry Medvedev has slapped down a rare sign of political dissent within the ruling elite after calls for the restoration of gubernatorial elections.

In a perceived swipe to comments by Mayor Yury Luzhkov, Medvedev said anyone who wanted a return of direct elections for regional heads was welcome to resign immediately.

"I think the current system for giving authority to governors is optimal," Medvedev said Tuesday, referring to the present system allowing the president to effectively hire and fire governors.

"If something does not suit [them] in the current procedure for filling these posts, they can tender their resignations," Medvedev said.

Medvedev did not name any names, but Luzhkov this week called for a return to gubernatorial elections -- in defiance of the Kremlin's clear opposition. "This issue could be reconsidered again now. I would support their reinstatement," Luzhkov said, Interfax reported Monday.

Since the abolition of gubernatorial elections in 2005 under former President Vladimir Putin, there has been almost no dissent from regional leaders against the Kremlin.

Luzhkov was directly elected and was reappointed by Putin last year. He holds the status of a governor because of Moscow's status as a region.