Prokhorov may be reinstated as Right Cause party leader

Russia’s Right Cause party is currently in talks with its former leader Mikhail Prokhorov on his possible reinstatement as a party leader, the party said on Monday, just days after he quit his post.

Some leading party members have proposed reinstating Prokhorov, after his opponents voted to oust him last Thursday. A spokesman for Prokhorov did not confirm the report, however.

“On September 19 members of the party’s federal political council will gather to shortlist candidates to the post,” the party said in a statement. “Negotiations with Mikhail Prokhorov are currently underway, and he may also be included on that list.”

Prokhorov, a billionaire former businessman, was not immediately available for the comment, but his spokesman Maxim Chizhov said he was unaware about the talks.

“I was not informed by Mikhail Dmitrievich [Prokhorov] about the issue,” he said.

The party congress will resume on Tuesday to choose a new party leader, approve a party platform and a list of 450 members to run in the State Duma elections later this year.

A scandal erupted last Wednesday after Prokhorov and his supporters accused some party members of illegally registering new members in his absence to win a majority and vote against his leadership.

Prokhorov called on his supporters to quit “this pro-Kremlin puppet project” and said he would seek the dismissal of first Kremlin deputy chief of staff Vladislav Surkov, whom he described as “a puppet master, who has privatized the whole political system.”

Leading party figures, including Right Cause’s former co-chairman Georgy Bovt and one of the party’s founders Boris Nadezhdin, were among Prokhorov’s opponents.

The split in the party reached its peak last Thursday when two Right Cause parties – Prokhorov’s opponents and supporters – met in different buildings in Moscow for their congresses in the run-up to the parliamentary elections in December.

A Right Cause co-chairman and founder Leonid Gozman posted a statement in his blog on Monday saying he was leaving the party. He said last week that the party was unlikely to succeed in the December elections and nothing could alter the situation.

“I announce that starting from today I have no relation to the organization… Right Cause,” Gozman’s statement reads.

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