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MOSCOW, December 10 (Itar-Tass) —— A second candidate for the Russian presidency will join the election race on Saturday. Earlier, the United Russia party nominated Vladimir Putin, its leader for the highest post. Now it is Fair Russia’s turn to say whom it would like to see in the Kremlin.
The most likely nominee is Sergei Mironov, a former speaker of the Federation Council and the indisputable leader of the party. In any case, Fair Russia chairman Nikolai Levichev has promised that he would propose precisely this candidate for the congress to approve. He recalled that Mironov had for nearly ten years led the upper house of parliament, held a seat on Russia’s Security Council, was personally acquainted with many foreign leaders and had in-depth knowledge of all decisions concerning the country’s foreign and domestic policies.
“We are nominating Mironov for president not for the sake of participating, not for a warm-up exercise, but for trying to win,” the Fair Russia chairman said.
Mironov on his web-site earlier confirmed that he would be prepared to join the presidential campaign in case of support from the congress.
“Over the years in politics I have proved that I am not afraid of being responsible for what I say and for what I do,” he said.
Mironov announced that the congress would also discuss the State Duma elections and the party’s successes and drawbacks.
“We shall talk about our prospects and opportunities and about how the party will be developing further, in view of its performance in the Duma elections,” he promised, to add with certainty that “the congress’s decision will be responsible and well-considered – as always.”
Shortly before the congress some other likely candidates were mentioned, among them State Duma member, economist Oksana Dmitriyeva, and her fellow party member, prominent Duma politician Gennady Gudkov. However, toward the end of the week a source in the party’s leadership hinted there would probably be no alternative nominees.
In the State Duma elections on December 4 the Fair Russia party greatly improved its result of four years ago. Whereas in 2007 it collected 7.74 percent of the votes, now it has received more than 13 percent and 64 seats. As he addressed his electorate before the elections Mironov pointed out in his blog that he would regard each vote for the Fair Russia party as a vote for him in the presidential election. “The more such votes, the greater the chances of not just participating in the election, but of winning,” he said, adding that it depended on the party’s electorate whether the presidential election would be genuinely competitive.
This is going to be the first presidential campaign for Fair Russia and a second for Mironov, if the congress backs his candidature. In 2004 he participated in the election as a candidate from the Russian Party of Life to have received 0.75 percent of the votes. He then explained his participation in the election campaign by his wish to furnish support for Putin, who was contesting a second term in fact having no rivals – the leaders of the Communist Party and of the Liberal Democrats stayed away from the campaign, aware they had no chances to win. “When a trustworthy leader is spearheading the attack, it is wrong to leave him alone, somebody must be by his side,” Mironov said then at a congress of the Party of Life.
In the 2008 presidential election campaign Fair Russia, together with Civil Force and the Agrarian and Democratic parties, supported United Russia’s candidate. However, shortly before the current presidential campaign Mironov said that his party would by no means support the ruling party.
Russia’s presidential election is due on March 4. The election campaign began on November 25.