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NOVO-OGARYOVO, April 3 (Itar-Tass) —— The transformation of the Russian Popular Front into a public movement will strengthen its independence, and its off-party status will help avoid political engagement and assist the successful implementation of the program of Prime Minister, President Elect Vladimir Putin, United Russia General Council Presidium Secretary Sergei Neverov told reporters after Putin’s meeting with members of the Russian Popular Front Coordination Council.
“The Front’s off-party status will help it avoid political engagement and will ensure its impartiality. The transformation of the Front into a public movement discussed at the meeting with Putin will build up its independence,” he said.
“No matter what decision is made with regard to the Front legalization, a key task of the Popular Front and United Russia is the implementation of the initiatives of President Elect Vladimir Putin presented in his program articles and the program of People’s Initiatives,” Neverov said. “I am sure that our cooperation will help us implement these plans and improve the living standards.”
“The demand for the Russian Popular Front will grow under new political circumstances as a mechanism of public influence on the authorities,” he said. “The Front has proven its efficiency in the short period of time, which has passed since the time of its establishment. Public organizations, groups of citizens and plant collectives, which joined the Front, formed a broad coalition of active and caring people who have ideas about Russian development,” he said.
“The Front brought a lot of new people to the State Duma, drafted the program of People’s Initiatives, which the party and the Front advocated in the elections, and united all sound forces in the society around Putin in the presidential election,” he said.
Further liberalization of the political system and additional possibilities of legislative initiatives of the public will increase the demand for the Front, he said.
Putin said on Tuesday that the Front might be transformed into a public movement. He recalled that the Front has no legal status so far; it is just an association of like-minded people. He also gave an affirmative answer to the question whether he might head the Front’s Coordination Council. “The law does not prohibit doing that. So that is quite possible,” he said.
Putin also said that the Front should not become a political party. “I think that the off-party status of the Russian Popular Front is its strong point. An off-party entity has broader possibilities to draw various political forces into its orbit and to exercise public control,” he said.