#15 - JRL 2006-243 - JRL Home
New Russian party to be formed in two months - member
MOSCOW, October 30 (RIA Novosti) - Three of Russia's smaller political parties which are set to merge will form A Just Russia: Motherland/Pensioners/Life within two months, a senior party member said Monday.
The left-leaning Party of Life, Rodina (Motherland) and the Party of Pensioners announced plans for a merger at a unification congress Saturday in order to contest regional and parliamentary elections next year.
"All legal decisions have been made, and documents are being prepared to register [the decisions of the congress] with the Ministry of Justice, which we hope will take two weeks. But I suppose the final registration will be completed in about two months," said Alexander Babakov, secretary of the party's Central Council Presidium.
He said the parties forming the alliance are scheduling conferences of their regional departments to elect regional leaders and receive applications from members of the Party of Life and the Party of Pensioners to join the new party.
"This is not necessary for Rodina, but a procedure to confirm membership in A Just Russia has been developed with our partners," Babakov said.
Sergei Mironov, who leads the Party of Life and is speaker of the Federation Council, parliament's upper house, has been elected leader of the new party.
He said earlier that the party can win the necessary 7% of the vote needed to enter the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, because it can take up a left-of-center niche, where many voters' sympathies lie. He also suggested that it will be given access to airtime on nationwide broadcasting channels.
Neither the Party of Life nor the Pensioners won enough votes in the 2003 election to take up seats in the State Duma. Rodina, which stormed into the Duma at the first attempt with just over 9% of the vote, has since been beset by problems.
Leaders have come and gone, and the party courted controversy with a television advertisement during the campaign for the Moscow legislature this year which was deemed overtly racist by many, and which was eventually banned.
Mironov said the new party will stand in opposition to United Russia, the current "party of power," which holds a massive majority in the Duma.
Mironov said the tri-party alliance will have about 500,000 members, which will bring it close to Russia's traditional left-wing party, the Communist Party, and its 580,000 members.
Igor Zotov, secretary of the Central Council, said he hopes the loss of members will be minimal and that numbers will recover after the first results of the work the party will implement through the Rodina faction in the Duma become obvious.
He also said the party's platform is being elaborated and will be adopted at a congress in February or early March.