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Home >> World
UPDATED: 09:38, April 15, 2007
Two Russian left-leaning parties unite
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Two left-leaning parties of Russia united on Saturday, Russian news agencies reported.

The People's Party took the decision on its fifth congress on Saturday to unite with the Fair Russia party, which is headed by Sergei Mironov, speaker of the Federation Council -- the upper house of parliament, and called for its members to join Fair Russia, the Itar-Tass news agency said.

The People's Party would be reorganized into a public organization called the People's Front of Fight Against Corruption, its leader Gennady Gudkov said at the beginning of the congress, which was the party's last congress in its six-year history.

Gudkov, member of the State Duma -- the lower house of parliament, who headed the party for the last three years, formally is not its leader at present. He became a Fair Russia member in late February and also was involved in the leadership group.

Mironov said when addressing the delegates that Fair Russia had become a national political force, and after taking People's Party members into its ranks, it will become a real party of all people. The task will be not only entering the Duma, but absolute victory in the December elections.

According to him, the main opponent of the party is the United Russia Party.

Several other parties will join Fair Russia before the beginning of the parliamentary election campaign, Mironov said.

Gudkov and Mironov began talks over the issue actually immediately after a new left coalition appeared on the basis of the merger of the Party of Life, the Party of Pensioners and Motherland. Last autumn, Gudkov attempted to establish cooperation with five small left-leaning parties, but the attempts to form a coalition failed.

The People's Party was formed in 2001 on the basis of the People's Deputy group uniting about 60 Duma members. The party numbers 95,000 members and has about 69 regional branches at present.

In the 2003 elections, the party failed to overcome even the five-percent barrier and only its 17 members elected in one- mandate constituencies took seats in the house. Almost all the deputies, including Gudkov, joined the United Russia Party's group in the parliament. Before the congress, Gudkov left United Russia members, saying he joined the Fair Russia group.

Source: Xinhua

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