Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday submitted his resignation to President Vladimir Putin. Mr Medvedev then announced he and the entire Russian government is to resign in a televised statement on the Russian state TV.
Russian news agencies said despite Mr Putin’s thanking members, he noted the prime minister’s Cabinet failed to fulfil all the objectives set for it.
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 Mr Mishustin’s candidacy later on Thursday.
Mr Putin had selected Mr Mishustin as the replacement prime minister after it was announced Mr Medvedev would resign.
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What happens next for Putin?
Mr Putin has asked the member’s of Mr Medvedev’s Cabinet to keep working until a new cabinet is formed.
The unexpected announcement means Russia will get a new prime minister.
Possible candidates include Sergei Sobyanin, the mayor of Moscow, Maxim Oreshkin, the economy minister, or Alexander Novak, the energy minister.
The mass resignation came shortly after Mr Putin proposed a nationwide vote on huge governmental changes which would move power from the presidency to parliament.
Mr Putin’s current term ends in 2024 and Russia’s political elites have been rife with speculation about his future plans.
The 67-year-old Mr Putin has remained at the helm for more than 20 years, which is longer than any other Russian or Soviet leader since Josef Stalin.
He will have to step down after his term ends under the current law, which limits the president to two consecutive terms.
Observers speculated he may stay in charge by moving into the prime minister’s seat after increasing the powers of parliament and the Cabinet and trimming presidential authority.
Other potential options include a merger with neighbouring Belarus and becoming the head of a new unified state, a prospect rejected by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko.
Mr Putin focused his state of the nation address on the need to encourage population growth and create new incentives for economic growth.
He said that the authorities need to do more to encourage new births and support young families.
Mr Putin emphasised that low incomes remain a key obstacle to population increase.
Russia’s population currently stands at about 147 million.