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14 Apr, 2008 11:01

Majority party to offer Putin official job

Russia’s largest political party, United Russia, has unanimously backed the creation of a new party chairman position. United Russia is due to officially ask outgoing President Vladimir Putin to become chairman. If he accepts, Putin will combine the party

The country’s development plans, leading up to 2020, are also debated at the party congress.

At midday party members split into smaller groups to discuss a series of issues like democracy, human rights, economy and the growth of the middle class as well as Russia’s global ambitions.

Speaking at thematic forums on Monday, United Russia Chairman Boris Gryzlov outlined the poltical stability in the country as one of the main achievements over the recent years.

“During the past eight years many things have been done for Russia to return to certain powerful starting positions. We were able to take serious steps in the area of paying debts to international financial organisations. We were able to reach a balanced budget without deficiencies. We were able to provide for political stability in our country. We were able to provide for a real vertical of power,” he said.

He also said reducing bureaucracy is an important democratic development.

“When it comes to democratic development, the number and efficiency of civil servants are a key factor. In 2004, we launched a reform to cut down on the amount of civil servants. So now we shouldn't try to solve problems of unemployment by increasing their number. This would only encourage corruption,” Gryzlov noted.

On Tuesday outgoing President Vladimir Putin will attend the meeting. It is not yet clear, though, if he will accept United Russia’s offer of the leadership.

President-elect Dmitry Medvedev also offered him the post of prime minister in the new government. So eventually, when he steps down on May 7, Vladimir Putin is expected to head both the Cabinet and United Russia.