YABLOKO will not merge with the Union of Right-Wing Forces (SPS) and will not form a joint list of candidates with the party in the run-up to the December 2003 parliamentary elections, the Deputy Head of YABLOKO faction in the State Duma, Sergey Ivanenko, said on Ekho Moskvy radio.
"Our parties are absolutely different, and our visions of life and our positions on the most important issues, both current and long-term, differ," Ivanenko said.
"We cannot support controversial enterprises like the so-called energy and communal services reforms that the government has been undertaking with SPS assistance. We believe that the idea of a six-month army conscription period, advanced by the SPS, is wrong. Our concepts of Russia's economic and political development are quite different," he said.
"The discussion of a joint list is over," he said.
Ivanenko believes that the failure to join forces will not stop the parties from winning Duma seats in the forthcoming election. "On the contrary, mixing would have confused and upset the voters," he said.
"SPS has its voters. It is the party of big business, and they will find enough supporters to overcome the five-per-cent hurdle. We rely on other voters. We'll try to convince people that our position is right, just as we've been doing over the last 12 years," added Ivanenko.
YABLOKO and SPS
State Duma elections 2003
Presidential elections 2004