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United Russia congress to discuss party strategy against growing political competition

October 03, 2013, 1:07 UTC+3
The forum’s plenary session with the participation of the party leader, RF Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, will take place at Moscow’s Gostiny Dvor
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Photo ITAR-TASS / Alexander Astafev

Photo ITAR-TASS / Alexander Astafev

MOSCOW, October 3 (Itar-Tass) - The results of the recent regional elections and the party strategy in the face of increasing political competition will be the main issues at a regular, 14th Congress of United Russia, which will begin on Thursday.

The forum’s plenary session with the participation of the party leader, RF Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, will take place at Moscow’s Gostiny Dvor on October 5. And on Thursday, the delegates will gather in the Bor recreation house outside Moscow to discuss during two days - on October 3-4, the party agenda.

They are expected to seriously analyse not only the past election campaign, but also the work of the party’s MP factions in regional legislative assemblies, with taking into account the further democratisation of the country’s political system. Members of the State Duma, Federation Council, heads of the regions from among the party members, as well as the mayors of regional centres, chairmen of legislative assemblies, heads of public reception offices of the party chairman are invited to attend.

On October 4, representatives of the government’s social and financial block are also expected to take part in the discussion forums. The congress delegates want to discuss with them the progress of fulfilment of the decrees of Russian President Vladimir Putin that he had signed on the day of his inauguration in May, 2012. The decrees deal with measures in the sphere of the social and economic policy, healthcare, education, housing and public utilities. These documents develop a series of Putin’s articles that have become flagship for United Russia.

In addition, within the framework of the congress events United Russia members plan to discuss Medvedev’s initiatives, which he put forward in the run-up to the forum. In the publication “The Time for Simple Solutions Has Passed,” and then also at a meeting with the leadership of the Federation Council, the prime minister urged, in particular, to introduce a new approach to region’s economic development. Secretary of the General Council of United Russia Sergei Neverov stressed that the congress makes it possible “to work out together with representatives of the regions concrete steps to implement the proposals of the party chairman.”

Besides 727 delegates, an unprecedented number of the heads of the primary party organisations - about 600 people, will for the first time attend the congress. Also, almost all party activists will be able to follow the work of the congress within the framework of the Internet project We Are Together, which has been launched on the party’s official website. “This event will be a real congress of the regions,” Neverov said.

The congress is to conduct a scheduled 10-percent rotation of the party governing bodies. This provision had been included in the party Charter in May last year, when Medvedev became the head of United Russia. A significant number of lower-level party managers are expected to be included in the General Council. The current congress participants will also introduce a number of amendments to the Charter, however, the party members have said that they would be rather “technical” in nature.

All the major changes that envisage, in particular, the election of party leaders at all levels on an alternative basis, had been included in the Charter at the previous 13th Congress and became a sort of Medvedev’s contribution to the development of the party. Medvedev also then had proposed to think about the introduction of the electronic voting system in the party. This innovation is expected to be tested for the first time on the main day of the congress on October 5.

Vladimir Putin had headed the party in the period from 2008 to 2012. However, when he was not its leader, he attended almost all party forums, with the exception of a few - in 2003 and in 2004-2006.

It is already known that Putin will not attend in the main meeting of the congress on October 5. Meanwhile, United Russia members expect the RF head of state to take part in one of the congress events. “We know that the president has a very busy schedule, but we hope that in his busy schedule he will find an opportunity to meet with party activists,” said the secretary of the General Council of United Russia.

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