31 Dec 2008

Successor named for Obama's Senate seat

7:58 pm on 31 December 2008

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has appointed a successor to fill President-elect Barack Obama's vacant seat in the United States Senate.

Ignoring warnings from within his own party not to make an appointment, Mr Blagojevich on Tuesday named former Illinois attorney-general Roland Burris, 71, a Democrat, to the seat.

The governor, 52, is accused of trying to sell the seat to the highest bidder.

The seat has been in limbo since Mr Blagojevich was arrested by FBI agents on 9 December on charges that he attempted to solicit campaign contributions and other political favors, charges he denies.

Senate Democratic leaders vowed on Tuesday to block the appointment.

Mr Obama says Democratic senators should reject the name put forward by Mr Blagojevich.