Tycoon officially appointed as Right Cause party leader

Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov has been elected as the leader of the right-wing Right Cause party, which seeks to participate in the upcoming Duma elections with aspirations to occupy second place after United Russia.

­The Right Cause party held a congress on Saturday to make changes to its charter and officially appoint a sole new leader. Prokhorov was first admitted to the party and then elected as its leader in a secret ballot.  

Mikhail Prokhorov, the head of the Oneksim Group, agreed to become leader of the party in May under conditions that he will be given a carte blanche to change the structure of the party and attract new people. The media eagerly used this information to say that 46-year-old Prokhorov aims to create a party of billionaires.

The party representatives said they were looking for a person whose status would be enough to compete with the ruling party.

At the congress, Prokhorov presented his views on the aims and future development of the party. He said he sees the Right Cause not as an opposition party, but as an alternative to United Russia.

"I propose excluding the word 'opposition' from our vocabulary. It is associated with fringe groups that have lost the sense of reality. There should be at least two ruling parties, while there is only one now," said Prokhorov.

He also said that the government’s internal policy has led to degradation of the country. “The industry has collapsed, and we’re nothing but an adjunct of raw materials, although a big one,” pointed out the developer of the first Russian hybrid car, Yo-Mobile.

The education, medicine and culture are deteriorating. More money should be spent on these spheres, and not on the law enforcement or defense,” added the businessman.

Talking about the potential electorate of the Right Cause, Prokhorov said that it is not only the party for businessmen and intelligentsia; it should also be aimed at young people.

The pre-election program of the Right Cause and the candidates for parliamentary elections will be approved at the next meeting in September.

RT talked to Mikhail Prokhorov after the party’s meeting, and the businessman said he would never have gone into politics if he was not sure of his own potential and the support from ordinary people in Russia.  When asked about his plans for the presidential campaign, Prokhorov said it was too soon to talk about it, but perhaps he could picture himself as prime minister.

I’m not the kind of person who tends to dream or plunges into illusions. We have particular goals: to get into Russia’s lower house of parliament with a maximum number of votes. What I also understand, is that I could be a good prime minister. If the party’s successful, I would fight for this position,” Prokhorov told RT.

Commenting on Prokhorov’s candidacy for the Right Cause leader, President Medvedev noted that the right-wing parties have their own electorate and thus have a chance to enter parliament.

Prokhorov’s potential is evident: he has been head of a big company, earned a lot of money, and he really wants to be in the party now,” said Medvedev.

The Right Cause party was founded in 2008 to unite three right-wing parties that lost their representation in parliament. As the party was looking for a new leader, other potential candidates such as Finance Minister Aleksey Kudrin, presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich and First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov were named.