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MOSCOW, December 19 (Itar-Tass) — On Saturday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at a meeting with activists of the United Russia party announced that the party needs renovation and that all the leaders of the party lists should join it. However, Medvedev himself, who headed its federal list at the elections to the State Duma lower house of parliament, is not in a hurry to join its ranks. He also expressed hope that Vladimir Putin will win the forthcoming presidential election.
“The future will determine the new conditions of political life. The old model that has well served our country in recent years, has exhausted itself,” Rossiiskaya Gazeta quotes Medvedev as saying. Now the system is to be changed, and it is already changing, however, the president said, by far not as a result of some rallies: “It is only the external froth.” “We are not blind and not deaf, and we must start this process ourselves,” the RF head of state told the activists of the ruling party. “We are responsible for the situation in the country, and therefore we must launch the process of political reforms,” he added.
The president has decided to start the attempts to strengthen the ranks from the leadership, Novye Izvestiya stressed. “No leader that was elected on party lists should abandon the party, this is unacceptable,” said Dmitry Medvedev who at the December 4 elections headed the federal list of United Russia. “All party leaders should be within the party.” According to him, only in this case the people will believe that “the party is not just a voting machine or a career ladder step in the life of that or other bureaucrat.” United Russia members must share not only all the party views, but also its political risks, they, according to the head of state “must be genetically tied with it, they should live the interests of the people, to take part in all undertakings of the party, not just formally attend some events.” At the same time Medvedev’s press secretary Natalya Timakova later reported that he had no plans to join any party during his presidential term.
Head of the International Institute for Political Expertise Yevgeny Minchenko, quoted by the publication, assesses the initiatives voiced by the head of state as the completion of repositioning of President Medvedev. “He started with presenting himself as an above-party president,” the expert recalled. “And then he headed the United Russia election list. And now he calls on everybody to join its ranks.” As for new persons in the lower house, the analyst believes the “troika” - Naryshkin, Zhukov, Vorobyev is rather strong. But experts are puzzled by the new chairs of the committees, who have been assessed by analysts as rather weak, compared to the previous, fifth Duma.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta emphasises that United Russia intends to radically renew the leadership of the sixth State Duma. After the meeting with the president, an extended meeting of the General Council of United Russia was held, which was attended not only the chief executives of the party, but also by the secretaries of its regional offices, representatives of the All-Russia Popular Front (ONF), says the publication. At the meeting the party members unanimously supported the candidacies of the chief of the RF presidential staff Sergei Naryshkin for the post of speaker of the lower house of parliament, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov – for the post of Duma first vice speaker. The General Council also proposed to nominate the candidacy of head of the party’s Central Executive Committee Andrei Vorobyov as head of the United Russia faction, deputy chairman of the RF parliament. Also, the party recommended for the posts of vice speakers Oleg Morozov, former deputy mayor of Moscow Lyudmila Shvetsova and Secretary of the Presidium of the General Council of the party Sergei Neverov.
As a party that has a majority in the State Duma, United Russia proposed a structure of 29 committees; 15 committees to the United Russia party, 14 committees to be controlled by the opposition parties (the Communist Party – six committees, Just Russia and LDPR – four committees each). New figures will appear on leadership positions in United Russia, and the party members say that 12 out of 15 heads of committees will be new figures.