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22 Jun, 2008 09:38

New leader for pro-western opposition party

One of Russia's oldest and most pro-western democratic parties, Yabloko, has elected a new chairman. Sergey Mitrokhin won the post at the fifteenth congress of the party early on Sunday.

The party, whose name means ‘apple’, wants greater freedom and civil liberties in Russia, more integration with the west and, ultimately, membership in the European Union.

“My main task as the chairman of the party is to save and strengthen the Yabloko Party, because it plays a crucial role in Russian politics. I want Russians to regain trust in our party,” Sergey Mitrokhin said.

Mitrokhin replaces its long-serving chairman and founding father Grigory Yavlinsky, who withdrew his nomination for the job during re-election.

Yabloko has suffered poor results in the last few presidential and parliamentary elections. It is believed the party might be in search of a new image while preserving its democratic ideals.