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Russian liberal hints independent MP Ryzhkov may lead "democratic coalition"
RIA Novosti

Moscow, 20 October: One of the leaders of the Union of Right Forces [SPS], Boris Nemtsov, is calling on Russia's democratic forces to unite.

"I see no other way than to approach the parliamentary election with a single list," Nemtsov said at a news conference in Moscow.

"If the democrats go into the elections in two columns, then, given the seven-per-cent threshold, the parties will have no chance of getting into the State Duma," thinks Nemtsov, whose party failed to make it into parliament at the last election.

"New people should head the democratic coalition. The 'losers' cannot do this," Nemtsov told journalists, adding that "I have taken such a decision in my own case".

Nemtsov did not rule out the possibility that the leader of the democrats at future parliamentary elections might be the [independent] Duma deputy, Vladimir Ryzhkov.

He spoke in favour of a "traditional" method for choosing a leader of SPS. "In December we need to decide on the date of the election of the leader, so that we can hold a congress in 2005, at which the party leader will be chosen." [Passage omitted]