Medvedev to face questions from political party leaders

Medvedev to start parliamentary elections campaign on Monday
According to the Russian media, President Medvedev is gearing up to face questions from several leading political parties on Monday.On the same day, the president plans to sign a decree on the 2011 parliamentary elections.

President Medvedev will be in Sochi on Monday, and according to the mass media, he will meet with leaders from several Russian political parties. However, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily reported that according to its sources, Medvedev had planned a separate meeting with leaders from the ruling United Russia party (including Prime Minister Vladimir Putin), which will take place earlier in the day. The other parties scheduled to meet with the president are the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, the Liberal-Democratic Party, Fair Russia, as well as three parties that failed to make it into the lower house in the previous elections – Right Cause, Yabloko and the Patriots of Russia.United Russia will be present at this general meeting as well, in the person of State Duma speaker Boris Gryzlov.

Medvedev will also have one on one meetings with representatives from all of the political parties that will be in attendance, though it is likely that these meetings will be brief – no longer than five minutes.

Currently, the parties are preparing various recommendations that they will present to the President. The Communist party said it will raise various social issues and the decline of Russia’s science sector. Apart from that, the communists said they hoped to push through a bill on transparent ballot boxes at the elections. The Communist Party also said it was going to complain over the fact that only about a third of their recent suggestions had been approved by the parliament, regardless of the fact that the parliamentary majority approved of them in their speeches.

Fair Russia will be represented by its leader, former speaker of the Federation Council Sergei Mironov. The party that presents itself as moderate leftist also plans to focus on a socially oriented agenda.

Veteran democrats Yabloko plan to raise a wide variety of issues, including the fight against corruption, environmental issues and also the current state of the electoral system. The Patriots of Russia party also said it plans to bring to the president’s attention the excessive bureaucratization of the elections process.

The 2011 parliamentary elections will be the sixth in the history of modern-day Russia. According to latest public opinion polls, the political situation after the elections will remain mostly unchanged, with the four leading parties maintaining their current levels of power. However, United Russia may become slightly weaker, which could deprive it of the ability to change the country’s constitution without first attracting support from other parties.