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Yanukovych picks Azarov for new term as prime minister (updated)

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Dec. 9, 2012, 2:17 p.m. | Ukraine — by Reuters

Mykola Azarov was set to keep his job as prime minister after the country's president nominated him on Sunday for a fresh term in the post.
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Reuters

KYIV, Dec 9  - Ukraine's Mykola Azarov was set to keep his job as prime minister after the country's president nominated him on Sunday for a fresh term in the post.

President Viktor Yanukovych's nomination of Azarov, 64, has to be approved by the new parliament on Dec. 12 when it holds its first session following a parliamentary election on Oct. 28.

But this seems certain since the ruling Party of the Regions emerged from the election as the biggest single movement in the 450-seat chamber. 

Azarov, 64, has served as Yanukovich's prime minister since the latter won the presidency in February 2010, and is regarded as a safe pair of hands and a political neutral who is not linked to any specific group of billionaire power-brokers in the country.

Among his first big tasks will be to negotiate a new bailout programme from the International Monetary Fund to help the former Soviet republic repay, or refinance, $9.1 billion owed to foreign creditors next year.

An IMF mission is scheduled to visit Kiev in the second half of January to start discussion on a new stand-by arrangement.

Yanukovich accepted the resignation of Azarov's government on Dec. 3, a move that had been widely expected after the election, and Azarov has been heading an interim government since then. 

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