Russian political parties to kick off pre-election debates

MOSCOW, November 8 (RIA Novosti) – All of the political parties taking part in elections to the Russian State Duma on December 4 will start pre-election televised debates on Wednesday.

The seven registered parties – United Russia, the Communists, Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), A Just Russia, Yabloko, A Right Cause and Patriots of Russia – will receive one free hour of television air time on the state-run TV channels and radio stations.

“I hope they will resemble boxing bouts,” said Artyom Sheynin, an editor at Russia’s Channel One TV station.

The parties have not yet revealed which of their members will take part in the debates.

The ruling United Russia party will participate in debates for the first time since its formation in 2001. The lower house Speaker Boris Gryzlov, a United Russia member, might represent the party in the debates. President Dmitry Medvedev, who heads the party’s election list, will not participate in the debates, sources reported in late September.

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