#11 - JRL 7040
Senior MP, leading analyst divided on prospects of Russian liberal parties
Source: Ekho Moskvy news agency, Moscow, in Russian 0758 gmt 29 Jan 03
[No dateline, as received] The failure of Yabloko and the Union of Right Forces [SPS] to do a deal will have no effect on the 2003 parliamentary election, [Russian] political analyst Sergey Markov said on Ekho Moskvy radio.
Yabloko leader Grigoriy Yavlinskiy and his deputy Sergey Ivanenko cancelled a meeting with SPS leaders Boris Nemtsov and Irina Khakamada planned for 29 January and refused to discuss SPS proposals concerning cooperation between the two parties in the 2003 parliamentary and the 2004 presidential elections.
"According to the polls, both SPS and Yabloko will overcome the five-per-cent hurdle," Markov said.
Markov predicted there would be fierce competition between SPS and Yabloko during the subsequent parliamentary election in 2007. Eventually, only one of them will survive, he said.
"Yabloko and the SPS would form an alliance only if [Russian President Vladimir] Putin goes hard, establishes authoritarian rule or abandons his pro-Western course. As long as this does not happen, they will not unite," Markov said.
The leader of the People's Deputy group of deputies in the State Duma, Gennadiy Raykov, believes that Yabloko and the SPS may lose the forthcoming election if they do not form a coalition. Both parties lack grassroots support, he said. "Yabloko and SPS leaders should consider it thoroughly," he told Ekho Moskvy. "The unification of the two parties is being hampered by their leaders' ambitions," he added.