Choosing a new Moscow mayor: a painstaking process

09:45, October 08, 2010      

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Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov (C) attends a meeting in Kremlin in Moscow, capital of Russia, in this file photo taken on Aug. 31, 2010. (Xinhua/Lu Jinbo)
The candidates for the vacant post of Moscow mayor will undertake the ruling United Russia party's grilling this Saturday.

That's when the party was due to present its list of mayoral candidates to President Dmitry Medvedev after a selection process that lasted more than 10 days.

Local experts believe the longer-than-usual period of selection indicated that a successor for Yuri Luzhkov, who was dismissed by Medvedev last week after 18 years in office, would have to fill quite a big pair of shoes.


The criteria for choosing the next mayor of Russia's capital are strict enough, Moscow political expert Leonid Sedov told Xinhua. Whoever the choice was, he would have to match certain criteria, the expert said.

Nikolai Petrov of Moscow Carnegie Center agreed.

"There are four basic criteria the ruling tandem will use to pick up the capital's mayor," Petrov said.

First and foremost, the official must not be directly connected to any of the elite clans.

"Now these groups have been united against Yuri Luzhkov. They certainly do not want to nominate a man who would be a bone of contention," Petrov told Xinhua.

Secondly, the man should not nurse any political ambitions spreading farther beyond the Moscow Ring Road, Petrov said.

"That is to say, the candidate cannot be too young. The young politician would be inevitably unpredictable in the longer term. Luzhkov rose from a second-line official to the uncontrolled figure in 18 years, setting an example the Kremlin may anticipate. This is why 74-year-old (acting Mayor Vladimir) Resin has his chance to stay afloat," Petrov said.

Thirdly, the mayoral hopeful must understand Moscow's complicated inventory and the power balance there, Petrov said.

"This is a tricky task to find a person who possesses those qualities but, at the same time, lacks the political aspirations," he said.

In any case, Luzhkov's heir would not enjoy the powers his predecessor held, the expert said.

Finally, Petrov said, the man selected for the job should be the one whose promotion would not create a gap in the area he worked before. Otherwise, it would mean getting something for nothing, the expert said.

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