Russian lawmakers back Putin's pick for new PM

Moscow: Russian MPs on Thursday overwhelmingly backed President Vladimir Putin's pick for the country's new prime minister.

After hearing Mikhail Mishustin lay out his aims lawmakers voted to approve his candidacy, with no MPs voting against him, although Communist MPs abstained.

"The decision has been taken," concluded speaker Vyacheslav Volodin.

Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin's nominee for prime minister told lawmakers Thursday that the government needs to work harder so that Russians feel real improvements in their lives.

"As the president has stressed several times, people should already now be feeling real changes for the better, so far this is happening far from everywhere," Mikhail Mishustin, currently the head of Russia's tax service, told lawmakers who must approve his candidacy.

On Wednesday Putin nominated the little-known tax chief as the new prime minister after he unveiled sweeping constitutional changes and the government of his loyal lieutenant Dmitry Medvedev resigned.

Mishustin, the 53-year-old prime minister-designate, also said authorities need to restore confidence with the business community.

Also Read: Russia PM Dmitry Medvedev quits as Putin seeks constitutional changes