| ST PETERSBURG, February 5 (ITAR-TASS) - On Thursday the
leader of the YABLOKO party Grigory
Yavlinsky, on a one-day visit to St. Petersburg, told the journalists
that the party's failure to be elected to the State Duma had not led to
a crisis in the party.
Yavlinsky said that party membership had increased by 10,000 over the
past two months, and that many distinguished Russian citizens had expressed
their desire to join YABLOKO.
Yavlinsky did not rule out that some YABLOKO members wanted to join
other organisations, but did not regard this as any serious manifestation
of a crisis in the party.
"An outspoken, tough debate is under way in the party on what should
be done and what the future of the party is. However, this is a sign of
the party's health," Yavlinsky said.
When asked if YABLOKO would follow the example of the Union of Right-Wing
Forces (SPS) whose leaders resigned, Yavlinsky said the question of re-electing
the leader had been raised three times during the December congress of
the party based on the results of the election, but it had not been included
in the agenda and, consequently, had not been discussed.