Half of United Russia members to be replaced – Putin

RIA Novosti / Sergey Mamontov
At least half of the ruling United Russia faction's deputies will be replaced following the December State Duma elections, the party's leader, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said.

“In general, our faction in the State Duma is in for a serious renewal. I think that it's a positive trend,” Putin said at the United Russia's inter-regional conference in the city of Cherepovets in the Vologda region on Monday. Members of the majority party gathered to discuss the Social-Economic Development Strategy 2020 for the Russian-North West. Political issues were also briefly touched upon.

Putin said that the party's lists of candidates for regional elections should include at least 25 per cent of members of the newly created All-Russia Popular Front (ONF). Putin noted that quite a few new and “efficient” people have appeared within the political movement thanks to recently held primaries, which were organized by United Russia together with the Front.

United Russia's list of candidates for elections to the lower house – the State Duma – will be based on the results of the initial stage of voting, which ended on August 25th. The final list of 600 candidates – which will include both United Russia and Popular Front members – will be approved at the party’s summit on September 23-24.

“Based on the preliminary voting results, we can now say that a significant part of places in our lists for the State Duma elections will be given to representatives of different social groups, such as doctors, teachers, farmers, servicemen, businessmen, pensioners and youth,” Putin said on Monday. He noted that there would also be many young politicians from United Russia.

The Prime Minister also suggested developing a mechanism of co-operation between the party and the ONF during the autumn parliamentary session. As an example of such co-operation he recalled a joint meeting of the United Russia party and the Co-ordination Council of the All-Russia Popular Front.

The idea of creating a new movement – the Front – was announced by Putin at his party's conference in Volgograd in May this year. The main goal was to allow people to take part inparliamentary elections without actually joining a political party. United Russia promised to give 150 of its seats in the parliament to members of the Popular Front. Putin's initiative was welcomed by the public and now, only four months later, the ONF has hundreds of different organizations, unities and even some former opposition politicians among its members.