Medvedev chosen to boost Russia ruling party

Russia's ruling party on Saturday approved Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as its new chief in a bid to reverse flagging popularity that stoked opposition protests against the Kremlin.

A United Russia congress in Moscow overwhelmingly confirmed by a show of hands Medvedev's candidacy to take over from President Vladimir Putin as party leader, with no apparent opposition and no other candidate contesting the post.

Medvedev's move to become a card-carrying party leader is a key plank in Russia's new power structure that saw him cede the Kremlin to Putin earlier this month after serving four years as president.

In a highly-orchestrated event, Putin formally announced Medvedev's candidacy at the central Manezh hall next to the Kremlin to a crowd of 3,000 guests and delegates.

"I consider United Russia my key ally and partner," said Putin, dispelling speculation that the party has been sidelined by the Kremlin and could even be disbanded after it lost support in December parliamentary elections.

Putin has been the leader of the party since 2007, although curiously never joined. He decided to fully step aside in April after announcing that leading the party is inappropriate for the president.

Medvedev -- who previously criticised United Russia and compared it to political stagnation of the Soviet Union's Brezhnev era -- this week formally joined the party and vowed to reform it from the inside.

He said during the congress that the party should undergo "revolutionary" changes in order be "more understandable to people" rather than seem "imposed from above" and vowed to cleanse it of unworthy members.

"United Russia has been in power for a considerable amount of time," Medvedev said. "There is a factor of tiredness beginning to play out against it."

United Russia would not have success if it was just seen as a "voting machine", Medvedev said.

But after suggesting more democracy in party ranks and using social networks in its work, he made clear that the party's target was to win the next parliamentary elections in late 2016.

"In five years, when there are new elections into the State Duma, United Russia must win," he said to roaring applause as a Russian flag waved slowly behind him on a giant screen.

Dominating the Russian parliament since 2003, the party supported Putin in his second election into the presidency in 2004 and has essentially been a rubber-stamping tool of the Kremlin.

But its lavish congresses, unattainable campaign promises and adulation of Russia's executive leaders earned it comparisons with the Soviet-era Communist party that monopolised political life in the country for decades.

Last year the opposition waged a campaign ahead of the parliamentary polls asking voters to cast their ballots for any party but United Russia, dubbing it the "party of crooks and thieves" and inundating Internet blogs with videos and posters discrediting the faction.

A growing popular perception of United Russia as arrogant and corrupt fuelled the protests against Putin that broke out in December over claims the parliamentary polls were marred by ballot-rigging.

Faced with loss of popularity of the majority party, Putin created a new coalition, the All-Russia People's Front, which he relied on in his presidential campaign.

United Russia received only 49.3 percent of the popular vote in the December 4 elections, hanging on to more than half of the parliament seats only by a quirk of Russia's electoral law.

The party is also likely to face more resistance in regional and city elections as the notoriously disjointed opposition learns to better mobilise over the Internet, even holding primaries to select unified candidates.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Indonesia defiant as UN leads condemnation of looming executions
    Indonesia defiant as UN leads condemnation of looming executions

    Indonesia on Sunday signalled it was determined to push ahead with the execution of eight foreign drug convicts, despite a growing wave of global condemnation led by United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon. Authorities on Saturday gave formal notice to the eight -- from Australia, Brazil, Nigeria and the Philippines -- that they would be executed by firing squad imminently, along with an Indonesian prisoner. The group have been moved to the high-security prison island of Nusakambangan, where …

  • AFP monitoring deployment of Chinese seaplanes in Spratlys
    AFP monitoring deployment of Chinese seaplanes in Spratlys

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is adopting a wait and see approach amid reports that China will soon deploy seaplanes to further strengthen its maritime claims in the disputed Spratlys. Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala, spokesman for the military and commander of the AFP Civil Relations Service, said they have yet to ascertain the real purpose behind China’s continuing aggressive moves in the region. “We will wait and see before coming up with an official stand,” Kakilala said when …

  • US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations
    US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations

    The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea. US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington’s next phase in its Asia “pivot,” deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region. The Asia “pivot” has already seen US Marines rotating through the …

  • Washington bucks China’s aggressive actions
    Washington bucks China’s aggressive actions

    Short of condemning China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea, a senior US military official said Washington does not support any act of coercion and bullying. “We don’t stand for coercion, bullying and aggressiveness,” said Brig. Gen. Christopher Mahoney, assistant US military director for  Phl-US Joint Balikatan Exercises 2015. At the sidelines of this year’s joint military exercises’ static aircraft display held at Clark Air Base in Pampanga, Mahoney told a media briefing that …

  • ‘Giving Bangsamoro police control is constitutional’
    ‘Giving Bangsamoro police control is constitutional’

    The proposed grant to the chief minister of the envisioned Bangsamoro region of operational control over police forces in the area is consistent with the Constitution, a senior administration lawmaker said yesterday. It is clear in the proposed BBL that the Bangsamoro police will be part of the Philippine National Police (PNP), while the Bangsamoro Regional Police Board (BRPB) will be part of the National Police Commission (Napolcom) and will carry out Napolcom’s mandate in the region,” he …

  • Noy off to KL for Asean meet
    Noy off to KL for Asean meet

    President Aquino will arrive here this afternoon with Manila hopeful of support from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to achieve peace and stability in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) as well as economic prosperity and inclusive growth among the people in the region. Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Jose Eduardo Malaya III said that with respect to the dramatic developments in the South China Sea, Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman had called for the early …

  • Madrid Fusion Manila reignites Pinoy appetite for great food
    Madrid Fusion Manila reignites Pinoy appetite for great food

    After months of preparation and hard work from both the government and private sectors, the future of food is finally here in the country’s capital. Madrid Fusión Manila opened its doors on Friday to an international delegation who eagerly awaited the discussions of some of the most renowned and revered names in the culinary world. Madrid Fusión Manila is a historic gastronomic event marked by talks and exhibitions that showcases Spain and the Philippines’ shared cultural heritage, as well as …

  • Family receives execution order, visits Mary Jane
    Family receives execution order, visits Mary Jane

    As Philippine officials continue to plead for a stay in the execution of death convict Mary Jane Veloso, the Indonesian government has sent a notice to her family ordering her execution at an undisclosed date, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday. Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said Indonesian authorities also allowed Veloso’s family and her lawyers to visit her on Nebu Kambangan execution island. “The Prosecutor gave notice letter to the family of Mary Jane …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options