New Russian parliament head promises open debate

December 21, 2011 17:59

MOSCOW - The new speaker of Russia's lower house of parliament promised on Wednesday to encourage more open debate and compromise in the assembly at its first session since an election which the opposition said was rigged to favor Vladimir Putin's party.

Former Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Naryshkin, a Putin ally, made his comments as a gesture to the opposition after his predecessor as speaker - also from Putin's United Russia party - said parliament was no place for discussion.

"I support free parliamentary discussion. Only this can lead to compromise," Naryshkin, 57, told the Duma.

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