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16 Sep, 2013 10:56

Navalny ready to head unregistered anti-corruption party

Navalny ready to head unregistered anti-corruption party

After coming second in the recent Moscow mayoral poll, popular anti-corruption blogger Aleksey Navalny announced that he is ready to join and head the as-yet-unregistered People’s Alliance party.

I will join it, there is no doubt about it. If they elect me I would lead the People’s Alliance and I think that this party is the closest to me,” the activist announced in an interview on popular Russian talk radio Echo of Moscow.

Navalny went on to explain that he did not join this party earlier because he was sure that this step would make registration absolutely impossible. 

The People’s Alliance party was created by Navalny’s allies such as the head of the Foundation for Fighting Corruption Vladimir Ashurkov, anti-corruption foundation, coordinator of the independent elections monitoring project Rosvybory, Georgy Alburov, and Leonid Volkov, who worked as the head of Navalny’s elections HQ at the recent mayoral elections in Moscow.

The party claims as its main goal representation for the people who want to be in opposition to the current Russian authorities and distances itself from the traditional political definitions or agenda.

The foundation convention of the People’s Alliance took place in December 2012 and Navalny took part in it pledging full support to the new movement. However, the Justice Ministry has suspended the party’s registration, quoting numerous procedure violations, including underage party members and lack of documentary proof of some regional congresses or even regional branches.

After his very successful performance in the September 8 Moscow poll, Navalny told a rally of his supporters that “a big opposition has been born in Russia” and called on the thousands-strong rally “to keep up toiling until we win.” Navalny got over 27 percent of votes at the election, losing only to the incumbent acting Mayor Sergey Sobyanin, who ran as independent but was backed by parliamentary majority United Russia party.

Navalny himself ran on the ticket of the rightist pro-market party RPR-PARNAS (Russian Republican Party – Party of People’s Freedom) and many of this party members sit together with Navalny in the body called the Coordination Council of the Opposition – an early attempt to organize Russians who were against the current political course but did not want to join any existing projects with a leftist or rightist agenda.

In the Echo of Moscow interview, Navalny noted that he was grateful to the RPR-PARNAS and that these people would remain his allies in future.

It should be noted that after the mayoral elections Navalny filed a lawsuit demanding that the court cancel the poll results and order a runoff. The activist’s HQ prepared thousands of complaints against alleged violations and on Monday the Moscow City Court began to look into them in a closed session.

Another Russian court in the provincial town of Kirov is currently considering Navalny’s appeal against a five-year sentence issued to him in late August. He was found guilty of major graft, committed while working as a voluntary aide to the Kirov governor. The sentence will come into force after the first appeal is considered by court, but the date of this event has not been scheduled yet.

Navalny maintains his innocence and blames the process on authorities who allegedly wanted to silence his anti-corruption efforts.