26/7 Tass 300
LENINGRAD REGION, July 26 (Itar-Tass) —— United Russia will have a congress on September 23-24, Chairman of the United Russia Supreme Council, State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov proposed at a Tuesday meeting with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
“Let it be September 23-24. In fact, these dates have been proposed by [Chairman of the Russian Federation of Independent Trade Unions] Mikhail Shmakov within the Front framework,” Putin said.
Gryzlov explained the delay of the party congress with the primaries and the need to approve final lists of candidates for the State Duma. It was planned initially to hold the congress in Moscow on September 3-4.
“The primaries are very active; we have extended them until August 25, and a number of formalities will have to be complied with later on,” Gryzlov said. “Regional coordinating councils will sum up results when the primaries end. It will take a week to process the data, and it will be the beginning of September by then. It will take some time to hold regional conferences, and the party and the Supreme Council Bureau will do their work after that,” he said.
“The information will be conveyed to you, as the party chairman, and you will submit the lists to the Supreme Council Bureau before their approval by the party congress,” Gryzlov said.
“As the period of primaries has been extended, I would ask you for scheduling the congress after September 20. Friday, September 23, and Saturday, September 24, may be convenient,” he said.
Putin asked Gryzlov about the primaries progress. “The number of nominees is very large, about 4,700 people, which is about eight people per place on the candidate list,” he said. Some 255,000 electors are choosing the prospective candidates, “which means that a quarter of a million of our voters will choose their priorities in advance,” he said.
“There have been four to five primaries in regions and a number of leaders have become obvious,” he said.
The largest number of candidates (over 150) was nominated in the Krasnodar territory, there are about 130 candidates in Dagestan and only 70 in Moscow.
The primaries began on July 21. Acting Secretary of the Presidium of the United Russia General Council Sergei Neverov called the primaries unprecedented by the range of social and professional groups they involved. “This is a truly people’s project,” he said, adding that over 4,700 people would take part in the primaries nationwide.
The Russian Popular Front formed at Putin’s initiative will join the nomination of candidates. More than 2,000 public organizations – Front members have proposed their candidates for parliament. Fifty-eight percent of all candidates are nominees of public organizations, 6% are self-nominated candidates and 36% of nominees of United Russia. Hence, a new political structure is being formed.
“We hope that the final list of 600 candidates will have many new names on it, and the party will renovate,” Neverov said. The list approved at the party congress “will have no less than 150 new efficient candidates,” he said.
The primaries were extended until August 25, while it was planned initially to end them on August 10. “The longer period of the primaries will enable their participants to hold more meetings at a larger number of places,” Neverov said. The most interesting ideas and proposals will be summed up and added to the party’s election program. The document will embrace both federal and regional problems.
The primaries will take place at 836 locations where candidates will present their viewpoints and programs.
Once the candidates are chosen at primaries, their lists will be approved at regional conferences of United Russia. 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.
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 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.
“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.