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By Mariya Nikiforova

Elections Coming Up
Democrats speak about a union again

Vremya Novostei, May 28, 2002

A large scandal is rising in the Duma again. Deputy Head of the YABLOKO faction Sergei The Union of Right-Wing Forces leader Boris Nemtsov has a new idea. He doesn't think that all democratic parties should support Vladimir Putin in the next presidential election. Instead, he believes that democrats should promote a single candidate, whose identity will be determined by the time of the parliamentary elections. Nemtsov is proposing an agreement among all democratic parties: "The candidate will be nominated by the party that wins the most Duma seats, and the remaining parties will accept him." According to Nemtsov, the agreement may be signed by the Union of Right-Wing Forces, Yabloko, and Liberal Russia.

A source in the Union of Right-Wing Forces assumes that Nemtsov's statement is just "an attempt to draw attention to himself". "This is Nemtsov's fixation," the source said. "He still views himself as Yeltsin's successor. Hence his dislike of Putin and his presidential ambitions. Hence the desire to unite all democratic parties, apparently under the leadership of Nemtsov himself."

Potential participants in the agreement dislike Nemtsov's idea too. "The idea of unification among all democratic forces is the right one, sure, but it has never been implemented since 1991," says Yuli Nisnevich of Liberal Russia. He believes that such an alliance always fails because the democrats are unable to choose between supporting and opposing the regime, and due to the leaders' ambitions. Nisnevich says it's absurd to imagine that "Grigory Yavlinsky and Nemtsov will come to an understanding".

That is why, Nisnevich says, Nemtsov's initiative should not be taken seriously. He calls it an element of a kind of political maneuvering by Nemtsov: "This is an attempt to remain in the focus of attention even though he has exhausted his resources as a significant politician, to say nothing of a presidential candidate."

Yabloko is pessimistic as well. Yabloko public relations manager Sergei Mitrokhin calls Nemtsov's statement shallow, saying: "We should plan our moves based on the actual situation on the eve of the election." Generally speaking, Mitrokhin agrees that the party that wins the parliamentary elections should "have a decisive say in determining the common strategy of all democratic forces for the presidential election." However, this doesn't mean that this party should have a monopoly on nominating a single candidate, according to Mitrokhin.

See also:
Yabloko and SPS

Vremya Novostei, May 28, 2002

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