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Russia: New bloc to offer leadership to Putin

Moscow, 27 October: The post of leader in the newly created union of the three centrist parties - Unity, Fatherland and All Russia - will be offered to President Vladimir Putin.

Moscow mayor Yuriy Luzhkov, who co-chairs the alliance of Unity and Fatherland which held their second congress in Moscow on Saturday [27 October], said that the final decision would have to be made by the president himself.

"We are assessing the political positions of the president," he said.

Another co-chairman of the union, Emergencies Minister Sergey Shoygu, said the new party would become a party of power only when it nominates presidential candidates who win. Another obligatory feature of a party of power is its participation in the formation of the government and in the management of the country.

Shoygu stressed that the new centrist party should become a real party of power, adding that its role will not be limited "only to advice to and the criticism of the executive branch". "Our party, leaning on the opinion of the majority of people, should take an active part in the management of the country - put forth responsible and serious initiatives, help state power implement them, and participate in the adoption and implementation of state decisions at all levels," he said.

Shoygu believes that the centrist party should become an important instrument of ensuring effective and responsible government, and of consolidating society.

He said that the congress was attended by about 200 representatives from All Russia, which joined the union of Unity and Fatherland.

The congress also elected Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaymiyev, who initiated the creation of All Russia, co-chairman of the union. Shaymiyev did not attend the forum due to illness.

His representative and an All Russia leader, Oleg Morozov, said at the congress that for the first time all political forces were consolidating on the basis of common sense, patriotism and the understanding of what kind of reforms were needed in Russia.

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