FILE PHOTO: Mikhail Mishustin, head of the Russian Federal Tax Service, attends a session of the Moscow Financial Forum in Moscow, Russia September 6, 2018. southafricnews/Sergei Karpukhin

MOSCOW (southafricnews) – Russia’s ruling party, United Russia, on Thursday unanimously approved Mikhail Mishustin’s candidacy as prime minister ahead of a formal parliamentary vote, Anastasia Kashevarova, an aide to parliament’s speaker said on social media.

Russia’s State Duma, the lower house of parliament, is expected to vote on Mishustin’s candidacy later on Thursday. United Russia has a majority in the Duma.

Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed constitutional changes the day before that would give him scope to extend his grip on power after leaving the presidency, and picked Mishustin as prime minister after Dmitry Medvedev and his cabinet stepped down.

Reporting by Maxim Rodionov, Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Andrew Osborn

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