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#16 - JRL 7066
Nezavisimaya Gazeta
No. 31
February 17, 2003
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]

Political parties have started to draw up their election lists. It is already known that they will differ considerably from the 1999 lists. This means that the composition of the party faction and the State Duma may be seriously renewed. How real and expedient is the substantial rotation of the deputy corps? This is the topic of a regular poll of NG experts.

Sergei MARKOV, the Institute of Political Studies:

If we speak about the well-established factions, such as Yabloko or the KPRF, I don't think that their renewal will be substantial. Instead, they will specify some names and fill in some vacancies. No special changes are expected in the Union of Right Forces either. However, the situation is quite different with respect to pro-governmental factions, in the first place, the Unity faction. First of all, all those who have joined United Russia will have a united list, in which it will be difficult to include, despite all wishes, all those who ran from Unity and the Fatherland all Russia (OVR), and also those who joined their coalition after the elections. Secondly, last time the Unity's list was drawn up in a hurry and, therefore, strange persons were included in it and subsequently elected to the State Duma. Under different circumstances they would have never been elected. That is why, it seems to me that the list of United Russia can be renewed by more than one half. On the whole, a normal correction of the deputy corps by about one-third can be expected.

Vyacheslav IGRUNOV, the Institute of Humanitarian and Political Studies:

Parliamentary work is a relatively new profession in Russia and, therefore, most State Duma deputies are not professionals and are not prepared for work in the State Duma. For this reason, of course, the State Duma factions should renew their composition. However, the nucleus of the factions, in my opinion, should remain unchanged because the destruction of these nuclei would lead to the opposite effect, i.e. to lower professionalism, although this, of course, depends on the size and the qualitative composition of the current factions. For example, the Unity lists were drawn up hastily and at random and, therefore, I believe that the absolute majority of the Unity deputies should be replaced. To my mind, rotation in the KPRF is also inevitable because it has revealed contradictions between the Communists and their allies in the Russian Popular Patriotic Union.

Andrei RYABOV, the Carnegie Foundation:

The radical renewal of party lists is possible, if the leaders of the parties are sensitive to public opinion. In this respect, the situation is as follows: there is steady demand for the renewal of the political, including party elite. People have grown tired of seeing the same politicians. This is reminiscent of the psychological state of the spectator who in a small provincial town sees one and the same play with the same actors.

At least the actors should be replaced, if there is no other play. That is why, the desire of party leaders to renew the electoral lists is understandable. At the same time, each of these leaders also has other reasons for that.

As for the Communists, the composition of their candidates may come to reflect the pressure by large companies, which have realized that the KPRF is attractive for investments but any investments require control and, therefore, they would obviously like to introduce their representatives into the party, apart from subsidizing it.

Igor BUNIN, the Center of Political Technologies:

Each party has its own procedure of drawing up the lists of candidates. For example, the KPRF list is based on two principles. The first principle takes into account the party hierarchy, while the second principle takes into account the composition of investors. Sponsors can buy seats thus ensuring the existence of the KPRF and its electoral campaign. United Russia that has emerged as a result of the unification of three parties has the problem of "the excess of choice." On the other hand, they should think about the image attractiveness of their list. I believe that a serious crisis faces this party. When it turns out that there will be no seats for some of the incumbent deputies in the State Duma, they will have either to make a revolt or demand compensation for the privileges lost.

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