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Russian SPS is transformed into a political party

Xinhua Agency, May 27, 2001

MOSCOW, May 26 (Xinhua)

The Union of Right Forces (SPS), the largest liberal political organisation in Russia, was transformed into a full-fledged political party at its congress on Saturday.

During the congress, delegates from SPS's nine small organisations, elected Boris Nemtsov, who heads the SPS faction in the State Duma, as leader of the new SPS party, outstripping his rival Alexei Kara-Murza.

Nemtsov, former deputy prime minister under Boris Yeltsin, won 237 votes to gain the post of chairman of the Federal Political Council of the party, who will conduct most of the everyday bureaucratic and political work.

The delegates also adopted the charter of the new party, as well as some key documents on the party's priorities, its foreign policies and attitude toward the government.

The transformation into a party will help the SPS to survive if parliament passes a law regulating political parties, which is designed to limit the number of parties by permitting only national parties with substantial membership to participate in elections.

Formed in the run-up to the parliamentary elections of 1999, the SPS was a broad coalition of nine small members and included all of Russia's liberals, except for Grigory Yavlinsky and his Yabloko party.

All nine organisations have disbanded in the past few weeks to allow their members to join the ranks of the new party.

According to the charter adopted recently, the SPS Party will seek to facilitate the creation of civil society and a state governed by the rule of law in Russia.

It will also faciliate consolidation of political stability, the maintenance of law and order, boosting of economic growth and enhancement of democracy.

The emblem of the Union of Right-Wing Forces will become the emblem of the new political party. Its anthem will be 19th century composer Mikhail Glinka's Patriotic Song.

Xinhua Agency, May 27, 2001

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