Fair Russia won’t support ruling party’s candidate for 2012 presidential election

Former Federation Council chairman Sergey Mironov said his Fair Russia party will either nominate its own candidate for president in 2012 or support someone else, not from the ruling United Russia party.

United Russia’s faction in the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly along with other deputies voted on Wednesday to recall Mironov from the Russian parliament’s upper house. Its members are appointed by regional executive and legislative bodies. The move led to Mironov losing the post of the Federation Council speaker – the third most important position in the state hierarchy.

Fair Russia will decide in the fall on the party’s participation in the 2012 presidential polls, Mironov said at a press conference on Thursday. It may nominate its own candidate or support someone else.

In any case, Fair Russia will not back up a candidate from the ruling United Russia party, Mironov promised. In December 2007, Fair Russia combined with United Russia and two other parties to nominate Dmitry Medvedev as candidate for presidency.

Top officials in United Russia earlier said their party would nominate its head, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in the presidential elections if he decides to run. Despite his constant wrangles with United Russia, Mironov has been always considered one of Putin’s closest allies. The former speaker said he had no grudge against Putin and condemned “the reactionary part of United Russia’s leadership” for ousting him. 

President Dmitry Medvedev during his big presser on Tuesday explained Mironov’s recall by political struggle between two rival parties.

The former Federation Council speaker is expected to replace some fellow party member and to head the faction in the lower house, the State Duma. For this plan to work, a deputy from Fair Russia will voluntarily abandon their mandate, and the candidates for this move have already been found.

Mironov will also lead the party’s list in the parliamentary elections due to be held on December 4, as well as the ticket in the polls for the St. Petersburg regional parliament on the same date. In the 2007 Duma elections, he also led the party’s list, which makes it possible for him now to join MPs in the lower house deputy corps.

­Push for political change

­Recently, Mironov resigned as Fair Russia chairman, but remains its leader. Many compare this position to that of Putin, who heads the rival United Russia party without even being its member.

The former Federation Council speaker said he would lead his party to victory, and he now “needs the State Duma’s rostrum.” Speaking before the voting in St. Petersburg parliament, he condemned United Russia for stifling political competition in the country. Another revolution is possible if one party has a monopoly position, he warned.

Fair Russia has a real chance to change the governor and members of the legislative assembly in the second largest city, St. Petersburg, he believes. The current governor, Valentina Matvienko, said on Thursday that Mironov had long ago had to choose if he was a statesman or leader of an opposition party. His withdrawal from the Federation Council was in line with the law, she said.

Mironov said that as a speaker of the upper house he had to refrain from tough statements. He promised to call things by their names in the Duma and to sharply criticize the authorities. But his political opponents have always blasted him for hurling “invectives” against United Russia.

Two other parties represented in the parliament – the Communists and Liberal Democrats – are not real opposition, the former speaker said on Thursday. During the voting on him in St. Petersburg assembly they “danced to the United Russia tune,” he stressed. Representatives of both parties on Wednesday said Fair Russia itself was an artificial project created by the authorities to take voters from them.

Meanwhile, the United Russia’s leadership, ready to take advantage of the victory over Mironov, has started to consider five to seven candidates for the post he lost. State Duma chairman and the head of the United Russia Supreme Council, Boris Gryzlov, is expecting the issue of the new speaker will appear on the agenda “in about two weeks or so.”

This position will clearly go to United Russia’s representative, although Mironov is taking credit for keeping the upper house as a non-partisan legislative body.

He is ready to enter the political fray even without the sizable privileges that he had as speaker, including a car with a flashing light and elite housing. Mironov said he felt fine without his previous privileges.