15/7 Tass 209
MOSCOW, July 15 (Itar-Tass) —— Eighty-one representatives of the Russian Pensioners Union will take part in the vote selecting candidates of the Popular Front in the State Duma elections, Chairman of the Union Presidium Valery Ryazansky said at the Friday roundtable on the pension reform.
“The Union sends 81 representatives to the primaries,” he said. “The accession to office is not a goal in itself for these candidates. They want to work for the benefit of senior citizens. The Union will fight for the rights of pensioners, many of whom have low pension security.”
“Your voice must be heard,” State Secretary – Deputy Health and Social Development Minister Yuri Voronin told the pensioners. “The Popular Front is a very efficient instrument of political influence, so I recommend that you should use it.”
The preliminary ‘popular’ vote on prospective candidates will be held from July 21 through August 10 at the assemblies of electors delegated on parity terms by the party and public organizations.
Once the candidates are chosen at primaries, their lists will be approved at regional conferences of United Russia to take place from August 15 through 20. The approved lists will be presented to the Federal Coordinating Council and United Russia leader Vladimir Putin. The latter will present the lists to the party congress for approval.
Acting Secretary of the United Russia General Council Presidium Sergei Neverov said that the party leader would have the right to amend the list. “According to our charter, the party chairman may amend the candidate list during or after the primaries,” he said. “This is the right of the party leader. The congress is the supreme body, which makes decisions, but the party leader will present his recommendations to the congress.”
This is the first time United Russia will take part in the election within the Russian Popular Front, in which candidates of the party and public organizations will be equal rivals.
The 600-candidate ticket of United Russia will include no less than 150 non-party members, he said. Primaries held within the Russian Popular Front will present new leaders and update the party personnel. “The Russian Popular Front project involves a huge number of people and not only party but also, possibly, regional and federal executive authorities may be updated,” he said.
The candidate lists will be approved on the final day of the congress, which would be held on September 3-4, Neverov said. The congress will take place in Moscow and involve an unprecedented number of delegates and guests. In his opinion, 3,500 to 4,000 people will attend the congress.
The first day of the congress will be dedicated to the discussion and approval of the ‘people’s program’, which is already being drafted in regions. “The whole country will hear the ideas and proposals, which will be implemented later on,” he said.
The program also includes the discussion of the national budget, which has begun at the Popular Front. In the opinion of Neverov, that will help consolidate positions of coalition members.
Putin suggested forming the Front at a regional conference of the United Russia Party in Volgograd on May 6.
He called for forming ‘a broad popular front’ to unite various political forces before the elections.
“I propose the formation of what we call ‘a broad popular front’,” he said at the United Russia conference in the Southern Federal District on the socioeconomic development of southern regions of the country.
The new organization may be called “Russian Popular Front”, Putin said. “The name is not the main question. The question is what it means and what our objectives are. This would be an instrument of the unification of kindred political forces. I want very much United Russia, other political parties, trade unions, organizations of women and veterans, including those of WW2 and the Afghan War, all people wishing to strengthen this country, to have a common floor,” he said.
“Such a form of the unification of various forces ahead of major political events has been used in various countries, by various political forces, the left, the right-liberal, the nationalist and the patriotic,” Putin said.
The front may pave the way to the State Duma for United Russia supporters unaffiliated to any parties. “All the political organizations must be equal within this Front – United Russia, trade unions and youth organizations. Everyone must be equal. There must be no seniors and juniors. Everyone must have a chance to propose the optimal development of Russia and to nominate candidates, who may be non-party members but be elected to the State Duma on the United Russia ticket,” he said.
United Russia will present a detailed regional section in its election program; there will be a detailed action plan for every region of the Russian Federation, Putin said.
“It is very important to ensure the operation of the so-called social lift for young people in regions, for everyone who wants and can work for the country’s benefit,” he said.
Putin proposed to create candidate reserves before August and then to discuss candidates before forming the final candidate list at the United Russia congress in September.
“Not only party members but also non-party supporters of United Russia – trade unions, women’s, youth and other public organizations and people who care; everyone wishing to have a direct influence on the national policy through United Russia instruments in the State Duma – must take part in the selection of candidates,” he said.
Rivalry for running with the United Russia ticket in the upcoming State Duma election will be high, Neverov said.
Apart from the State Duma election, there will be elections of 27 regional legislative assemblies, and Popular Front candidates may take part in these elections, too.
However, some public organizations may not nominate their candidates but set forth their ideas, Neverov said.
The core of the election campaign has been chosen, he said. Strategy 2020 is a prospect of the national and regional development, “and it is the question of forming a people’s program with the participation of member organizations of the Russian Popular Front,” he said.