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Medvedev Convenes New Parliament Despite Protests

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (right) meets with leaders of parliamentary political parties at the Gorki presidential residence on December 13.
Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev has announced that the first session of Russia's newly elected parliament will be held on December 21.

Medvedev made the announcement to the leaders of the parliament's four factions in a special meeting, despite ongoing checks into allegations of vote fixing and other violations.

Medvedev also announced plans to deliver his annual address to the nation on December 22 -- two days before a planned opposition rally in Moscow.

He also promised to push ahead with political reforms before leaving office after next March's presidential election, which is widely expected to hand the presidency back to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

compiled from agency reports