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United Russia faction to elect its new leader

November 10, 2012, 9:58 UTC+3

The position of the leader became vacant as Andrei Vorobyov was appointed acting Governor of the Moscow region

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MOSCOW, November 10 (Itar-Tass) —— The name of new chairperson of the United Russia faction at the State Duma will be known on Saturday. The leader of the biggest parliamentary union will be elected at an early meeting of the faction during an alternative ballot voting.

The position of the leader became vacant as Andrei Vorobyov was appointed acting Governor of the Moscow region. It happened after Governor Sergei Shoigu was appointed Russia’s Defence Minister. Vorobyov will remain an acting governor for almost a year before the governor election due in September of next year. The United Russia party has made it clear already that Vorobyov is probable to become the party’s main candidate at that election. Formally, Andrei Vorobyov still remains a deputy of the State Duma /the lower house of the parliament will stop his authorities on Tuesday, November 13/ and will participate in election of his successor.

Earlier, vice speaker Sergei Zheleznyak, who is a deputy secretary of the United Russia General Council, said the faction leader will be elected on an alternative basis by direct secret voting. “It is important that the faction leader is a man with serious parliamentary experience who can consolidate the faction. The faction leader’s job is not a full-dress coat, it is hard and laborious work,” he stressed. “I think this post must be occupied by a person whose authority and experience will help the faction consolidate its positions.”

The party charter allows any faction member to nominate him- or herself or nominate anyone else from among the faction members, Zheleznyak noted. But as a rule, nomination is preceded by discussion of possible candidates in faction groups.

The number of possible nominees is not fixed in the charter. “Self-nomination is not excluded. But I don’t think self-nomination is the best way to be elected. It will be much better if a candidate is nominated by his or her colleagues,” he said.

The United Russian faction has four groups led by Vyacheslav Timchenko, Otari Arshba, Dmitry Savelyev, and Nikolai Bulayev.

Meetings of three groups are due on Saturday before the meeting of the faction. And the group of Otari Arshba has made its decision already – they announced on Friday that their candidate would be Vladimir Vasilyev, a current head of the State Duma’s commission on control of deputies’ incomes, and in the parliament of the two earlier convocations he was head of a key committee – on security. While commenting on the choice, Arshba called Vasilyev “the Duma’s one of ‘heavyweights’, a representative of the legislative elite who is respected by all parliamentary parties.” “Vasilyev has high authority at various levels of the power. He has enormous experience in working for law enforcement authorities and in legislation,” the deputy added.

Earlier, the media were guessing actively who may compete with Vasiliev. Among possible nominees are first vice speaker Alexander Zhukov, vice speakers Sergei Neverov and Sergei Zheleznyak, and chairman of the Duma commission for control over lawmakers’ incomes Vladimir Vasilyev. The latter will be nominated by Olga Batalina, the first deputy chairperson of the Duma committee for family affairs. “I will propose Vasilyev’s candidature,” Batalina told journalists on Friday. “I think the post of the United Russia faction leader should be offered to a person who has a vast experience, who can be asked for advice, who will consolidate the faction. Each lawmaker is a personality but the faction should be a united body.” The faction, in her words “has many highly experienced professionals, that is why the faction leader must be open for dialogue, he or she must be capable of finding a compromise solution and enjoy a high authority among all.”

As the faction’s groups offer their candidates, they will be nominated for the faction’s voting. The meeting is due at 14:00 Moscow time. By the way, the ballot boxes were installed on Friday already. In order to win, a candidate will have to be supported by a simple majority of the votes. If not a single candidate receives the required number of the votes, another round with three candidates would be announced. A candidate, who is supported by a majority, would become the faction’s chairperson.

Very soon, the State Duma’s United Russia faction will have to organise another election – that of a deputy speaker of the lower house, which remains vacant as Andrei Vorobyov was appointed the Moscow region’s acting governor.

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