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State Duma Elects New Speaker

Moscow, Jan. 17 (RFE/RL) - Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, elected 48-year-old Communist Party deputy Gennady Seleznyov as it new speaker today.

There were 231 deputies in the 450-seat Duma who voted in favor of Seleznyov's election, five more than needed for a majority.

Seleznyov is a former editor of Pravda daily newspaper. In the previous Duma he had been a deputy speaker.

A number of other candidates were also considered for the post, including former speaker Ivan Rybkin, candidate of the "Our Home is Russia" bloc. He received 150 votes. Pro-reform "Yabloko" bloc candidate Vladimir Lukin took third place with 50 votes.

The post of speaker is considered a critical political position in the Russian Duma, where Communists now hold a majority.