MOSCOW, September 20 (Itar-Tass) — The Right Cause party’s pre-election congress will continue its work on Tuesday to approve the list of candidates for the Duma elections.
On Monday, the Federal Political Council (FPC) of the party failed to agree on the federal part of the list. It unanimously endorsed only the candidature of the head of the party’s the executive committee, Andrei Dunayev, who is currently acting head of the party. Members of the FPC propose him for heading the list.
However, it has been decided not to include in the congress agenda the issue of the election of the party leader. “Thus, if the delegates do not change the agenda, the acting chairman, lawyer Andrei Dunayev will lead the party in the elections,” the party’s press service confirmed to Itar-Tass.
About 450 candidates are planned to be included in the electoral list of Right Cause, and 10 people will be included in its federal part.
The party congress called at the end of last for forming a list of candidates for the Duma elections, has failed to begin this process because of the conflict that broke out between the supporters and opponents of Mikhail Prokhorov, who headed the party since this June and was ousted from the leadership at the pre-election congress that started on September 15.
In addition to the list formation, the congress will adopt the election program. The party’s former co-chairman, journalist Georgy Bovt and economist Vladislav Inozemtsev participated in preparing the draft that will be submitted for approval by the delegates.
Right Cause was founded in November 2008 as a merger of three parties: Union of Right Forces (SPS), Civilian Power and Democratic Party of Russia. The SPS and Civilian Power were both regarded as liberal parties, supporting free market reforms, protection of private property and a decentralized federal government. The Democratic Party also supported liberal values, but its programme was more conservative and nationalistic.
By 2008, the three parties were all in a state of decline. While SPS had achieved 8.7 percent of votes in the 1999 Duma elections, in the 2007 it only received 0.96 percent. Support for the Democratic Party (0.13 percent) and Civilian Power (1.05 percent) in the 2007 election was also low. The SPS—highly critical of Vladimir Putin and United Russia in its 2007 election campaign—was losing voters due to the fact that Putin had adopted many of the market reforms championed by SPS, and also because companies started to withdraw their financial support from the party. With falling support and votes being lost to United Russia, the three parties, among others, considered mergers in order to survive. The decision to initiate the merger was made in October 2008, and in November the unification was completed. The new party, called Right Cause, was officially registered in 18 February 2009. The party's creation was supported by the presidential administration of Dmitry Medvedev.
The merger was opposed by SPS founding member and former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, who believed the new party would not offer true political opposition, while another SPS founding member Anatoly Chubais, widely considered architect of Russia's privatisation programme, voiced strong support for the merger, saying that “a political party is one that participates in elections with chances to win.”
The party currently has representation in several city legislatures, but lacks representation on the regional level. According to a survey conducted in March 2008, less than 2 percent of the Russian population are loyalists of the party. In April 2011, support for Right Cause was 2.9 percent. The party’s performance has been a disappointment, with analysts attributing its low popularity to a lack of a charismatic leader. In May 2011, billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov said he would like to lead the party. Prohkorov has promised to make Right Cause Russia’s second largest party on a pro-business platform that will “totally transform” the country. In a television interview, Prokhorov said: “we have got to return to a 14 percent tax, leave small business alone, simplify paperwork and let small business work in peace ... I think we won't recognize the country in five to 10 years.”