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Russian leftist political parties unite into new electoral bloc ahead of national vote later this year

Russian leftist political parties unite into new electoral bloc ahead of national vote later this year
Three opposition parties from across Russia’s political spectrum have announced that they will join forces, in a bid to win parliamentary seats at this Autumn’s legislative elections.

Sergey Mironov, of the left-of-center ‘Fair Russia’ party, told journalists on Wednesday that his group would be merging with the more populist ‘For Truth’ grouping and the socialist ‘Patriots of Russia’ faction.

In comments reported by the Interfax newswire, Mironov said that “after long negotiations that I have been conducting over the past two years, a decision has been made  in principle that there will soon be a merger of the three political parties.”

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Mironov’s party is, at present, the only one with elected representation in the State Duma, the Russian parliament’s lower house. With 23 deputies, it is the fourth largest grouping after the governing United Russia, the Communist Party and the right-wing LDPR. Both Fair Russia and the LDPR support the government as part of a confidence-and-supply agreement.

As the leader of the largest faction in the newly created entity, Mironov has said he will position himself as the bloc’s leader. “I hope my colleagues will support my candidacy, and  there will be two co-chairmen,” he said. “As for the name of the party, it will be a long one. It’s likely to sound something like "Fair Russia - For Truth.”

The politician presented the move as a win for left-wing politics in the country, insisting that “we are uniting and counting on the consolidation of all patriotic forces on the left in the run-up to the State Duma elections [later this year].” “Leftist ideas have a huge influence and great popularity in our country, and today we call for the unification of all leftist forces,” he added.

Russia will head to the polls no later than September this year to vote on the composition of the Duma. In 2016, United Russia drew almost 55 percent of the vote, earning a super-majority in the lower house, with 343 out of 450 seats. Half of the available seats are drawn from a proportional representation system, while the remainder are elected to specific constituencies in a winner-takes-all race.

There has been speculation that a series of reforms could be introduced to rebalance the system in favor of more local representation, allocating a quarter of available seats to parties through proportional representation.

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