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Medvedev says new parliament to start work

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Thu, 8 Dec 2011 12:08 GMT
Author: Reuters
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PRAGUE, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday that Russia's newly elected parliament should be allowed to start work as planned despite protests challenging the fairness of the Sunday elections.

"The most important thing today is to calm one's nerves and allow the new parliament to start work," he told reporters in Prague after talks with Czech counterpart Vaclav Klaus.

"If people want to have their say on the elections this is fine," he said, adding he does not see anything out of the ordinary about the protests and that "they are a reflection of democracy."

Medvedev's first public remarks about the ongoing protests, which kicked off on Monday, were softer in tone than those by his mentor Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who earlier on Thursday accused the United States of encouraging the protests.

The United Russia party, which both Putin and Medvedev took to the polls, suffered a setback but won a slim majority in parliament despite widespread allegations of ballot stuffing and vote count manipulations.

Thousands turned out on Monday for the largest opposition protest in Moscow in years, demanding fair elections and an end to Putin's rule. (Reporting By Denis Dyomkin, writing by Alexei Anishchuk)

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