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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Leader of Russia's Tatar republic to quit in March

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, January 22 (RIA Novosti) - The long-serving president of the Russian republic of Tatarstan said Friday he had no plans to seek another term of office after his tenure ends in March.

"Mintimer Shaimiyev asked the Russian president not to consider his candidacy," Dmitry Medvedev's spokeswoman said.

"Shaimiyev thanked the head of state for his trust and support," Natalya Timakova went on, adding that that the Tatar leader wanted to step aside for a new generation of politicians.

Shaimiyev, 73, has headed Tatarstan since 1991. In the early 1990s, the oil-rich republic's 3.8 million inhabitants looked set to split from Russia, with 62 per cent of voters, a figure slightly higher than the republic's Muslim to non-Muslim ratio, supporting independence in a referendum. Secession was eventually avoided after a broad form of autonomy was granted to the republic.

Medvedev said that he highly valued Shaimiyev's work during his almost two decades in office and added that he would recommend to the republic's State Council that Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov be vested with presidential powers.

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