Mayoral nominee makes party rounds ahead of Thursday's vote

RIA Novosti / Valeriy Melnikov
Mayoral nominee Sergey Sobyanin has expressed hope the United Russia party will aid him in changing the investment climate in Moscow for the better.

Sobyanin met with the top figures of the party’s Moscow branch two days before the city Duma is to vote on his candidacy on Thursday. “I hope in case of my election as a mayor, the party will remain a stable support in solution of social and economic issues,” said Sobyanin during the meeting, according to Russian information agency, Interfax.

The mayoral nominee said regrettably the investment climate in Moscow leaves much to be desired. Despite considerable input, “the attitude towards the investment climate in Moscow remains skeptical,” said Sobyanin.

He also said he hoped to get insight from the party leaders on the priorities of the Moscow City Government, should he be elected mayor. Among the issues Sobyanin highlighted were improvement in the social sphere, fighting corruption, and administrative barriers.

Just a day earlier, on Monday, Sobyanin paid a visit to MPs of the Moscow City Duma – leaving all of them satisfied.

The Assembly is to vote on Sobyanin’s nomination on Thursday, hence the visit was considered a sort of a dry run to assess the mood in the City Duma on the eve of the vote. By looks of it, the mood is on the upside for Sobyanin.

His first meeting was with representatives of the United Russia party, in which he is the member of the Supreme Council. Journalists were barred from that session, but could not help but notice the pleased faces of the MPs, reports Russian Internet publication,

Mayoral nominee Sergey Sobyanin did not outline his precise plans should he be elected by the Moscow City Duma. Corruption, which permeates the city, traffic jams, and social issues – such as financial aid to war veterans and elderly – were the only three things Sobyanin spoke about. But by looks on MPs’ faces after the meeting, they heard everything they wanted to hear.

Afterwards, Sobyanin attended a meeting with the three representatives of the Communist Party. Surprisingly, that meeting went well, too, though the Communists usually stick to a strict party line, which is in opposition to most things associated with United Russia. Last week, the leader of the Communists, Viktor Zyuganov said Sobyanin has plenty of experience, and will be respected by Muscovites. But he hastened to remark that the new mayor will have many difficulties in his new post.

The leader of the Communist faction in the City Duma, Andrey Klychkov said “Sergey Sobyanin is determined to carry out constructive dialogue.” He went on to remark, however, that during Thursday’s vote, all three Communists will have to vote against Sobyanin – again, in accordance with the position of their party.

The fruit of discord between the Communist Party and United Russia is the appointment of governors and the Moscow mayor. The communists staunchly believe in direct elections of governors and Moscow’s mayor, which were annulled on the initiative by then-President Vladimir Putin in 2005. Presently, both governors and the Moscow mayor are appointed by the President of the Russian Federation, though the candidates should be confirmed by the local parliaments.

Right after the meeting with the communists, Sergey Sobyanin headed for another session – this time with members of the council of parties and factions not represented in the Assembly.

The Assembly’s speaker, Andrey Platonov, told Russian newspaper “Kommersant” that the meeting was also unplanned: “He [Sobyanin] found out I had that meeting, and said he wanted to be present.” According to Platonov, the discussion was animated: “there were no easy questions,” he said afterwards.

The Moscow City Duma will vote on Sobyanin’s nomination on Thursday, and most predict the results of the vote will see the former Deputy Prime Minister in the mayoral office on the same day. It appears that, out of 35 PMs in the Parliament, only the three Communist MPs will vote against Sobyanin. All the rest belong to the United Russia party, which actually nominated Sobyanin for the post.

Irina Galushko, RT