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MOSCOW, April 1 (Itar-Tass) - It looks like the short-term prospects for the All-Russia People’s Front, a coalition of organizations that Vladimir Putin set up in 2011, have gotten clear contours. Political analysts who been guessing whether or not the Front will become one more power-holding party and Vladimir Putin’s main supporting pillar to counterweigh the United Russia party have received an answer.
For the time being, the Front has transformed into a public organization and it will not be taking part in elections on its own. However, experts claim that it will constitute a necessary majority in the State Duma in collaboration with United Russia through the election of deputies in single-mandate precincts.
Along with it, some experts say the prospect for transforming the Front into a party remains in the cards agenda and its materialization is only a matter of time.
The first all-Russia conference of the organization was held in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don Friday. President Putin who took part in it said a congress where the organization would be reshaped into a public movement will be held in June.
The Front’s political plans were discussed only on the sidelines of the conference. “No one has ever put up a task of turning the All-Russia People’s Front into a party,” the Novye Izvestia daily writes quoting Andrei Bocharov who chaired the organizing committee in charge of preparations the conference.
“There’s no need for us to slash our resources because the Front is facing a much broader scope of tasks that any single party does and support for Vladimir Putin is much more momentous than the support for any separate organization or party,” he said.
Vyacheslav Lysakov, the of chief of secretariat of the Front told the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily members of the Front may run at elections in single-mandate precincts and may be nominated not only by United Russia but by other parties, too.
Sergei Mironov, the leader of the left-off-center A Just Russia party has already said cooperation with the Front is possible.
As Vladimir Putin spoke at the conference, he specified why the All-Russia People’s Front is needed.
“It’s needed to fulfill a grandiose mission vested in it, namely, to play the role of a broad platform where the people maintaining different outlooks and espousing different approaches might tap consensus on how to resolve the key issues of our development,” Putin said.
And still the rumors about a possible rise of a new power-holding party out of the Front’s groundwork are persisting and the versions speculated on are differing widely.
An unnamed source in the State Duma with strong links to the Kremlin administration told Nezavissimaya Gazeta a cardinal decision to set up a new party on the basis of the Front has been taken and it will be unveiled in the coming days. In reality, though, the process will be a protracted one and the Front that has receded into the political shadow will be expected to return to the political arena during this period of time in all of its allure.
The source indicated that the Kremlin has already issued a recommendation to the Front’s grass-root units to refrain from opening their ranks to the people who have occupied any positions in United Russia, “although ordinary members can be taken along, of course.”
Delegates made accent in their speeches at the conference on their unwillingness to see any bureaucrats or social climbers in their ranks and would rather prefer “representatives of the workfolk.” MP Olga Timofeyeva was one of these speakers. She said it would be good for factories to “nominate their /labor staff/ representatives and not executives” to the Front.
Izvestia daily quotes Dmitry Orlov, the Director General of the Agency for Political and Economic Communications, who forecasts that the Front will not turn into a united party.
“A simultaneous engagement of the All-Russia People’s Front and United Russia in the election is highly improbable and only an alliance between them is possible,” Orlov said. “If the Front really turned into a party, it would split the electorate supporting the powers that be and this scenario is out of the question.”
Sources in the presidential administration also told Izvestia that refashioning of the Front into a political party “would be an extremely silly step.”
Konstantin Rekemchukov, Nezavissimaya Gazeta’s editor-in-chief believes United Russia will remain on the political stage but, quite obviously, the constitutional majority in the Duma will eventually be made up mostly of the Front’s nominees elected in single-mandate precincts.
Reintroduction of single-mandate constituencies will alter the Duma’s composition, Rekemchukov surmises. “It would be enough for United Russia to have 28% to 30% votes and this is an attainable result, and as for the rest of the mandates needed to get the constitutional majority, which is about 67%, they can be obtained with the aid of deputies from the one-man precincts.”
Alexei Makarkin, a Deputy Director General at the Center for Political Technologies, is confident the self-nominees drawing on support from the Front will constitute the vanguard of “combat forces”. In other words, the Front will actually turn into an incubator of “single- mandate winners”.
Gleb Pavlovsky, the President of the Efficacious Policies Foundation thinks the Front will be developing as a bulkhead over United Russia in the short-term.
“It’s important to see what the Front will rely on,” he said. “United Russia relied on two fundamental factors - a tightly-bonded class or executives and Putin’s popularity among the rank-and-file, but the All-Russia People’s Front needs a new groundwork.”
“That’s why Putin is trying cautiously to switch it over to a new track,” Pavlovsky said.