Lilia Shibanova: “It is imperative that discussions begin on the execution of political reform.”
Former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has not excluded the possibility of establishing his own political party in the future. In his words, there is currently no political force in Russia. The new party could be based in the Committee for Civil Initiatives, which was established by Mr. Kudrin this past April. The organization has already involved itself in the analysis of recent electoral results.
The former finance minister is still highly cautious about projections of his own participation in the political process. The former deputy prime minister is holding out because there currently is no party that he can fully support.
“Of those that participated in the elections, I’m closest, perhaps, to Yabloka because of their democratic agenda. But I am not satisfied with their economic program,” Alexei Kudrin told St. Petersburg journalists on Friday.
In his view, new parties such as Vladimir Ryzhkov’s Republican Party are currently appearing, but at this time it is difficult to talk about support. “By definition, I cannot support Mikhail Prokhorov’s party, because I do not understand who it will be comprised of,” the politician stated.
In the future, Alexei Kurdin can create his own party. Until then, he views his it as his mission to create a favorable working environment for the Committee for Civil Initiatives. He said, “When all is said and done, if we have a strong turnout, we will create a party or join forces with someone else. Whether a member of the committee will establish a party remains to be seen.” The committee itself will continue to exist whether or not a party is created. In Mr. Kudrin’s opinion, it is now imperative to thoroughly investigate all reports of electoral fraud. He stated, “The government’s legitimacy has no statute of limitations.”
Such an investigation is currently underway. After analyzing data obtained from observers during the presidential elections, independent political analyst Dmitry Oreshkin concluded that, «Throughout the country, the real result for Vladimir Putin was around 50%, so there are grounds to doubt that he won in the first round.» Mr. Oreshkin stated, however, that according to sociologists, Putin would have won anyway since he is the most popular politician in the country.
During the last elections, large-scale observation missions were mostly limited to major cities. For example, GOLOS Association found that Putin won in St. Petersburg with about 51%, while official figures held that he obtained 58.7% of the vote. Rosvybory gave him 49.6%. These same observers figured that Mikhail Prokhorov likely won about 21% of the votes, while official figures for Prokhorov were around 15.4%.
GOLOS Association Director Lilia Shibanova believes that the events in December and March indicate the imperative of consolidating the opposition parties in order to defend against fraud. “It is imperative to create a single committee for the collection of data and that discussions begin on the execution of political reform,” the expert said.
The most difficult challenge for the government during the Fall 2012 election cycle will be Kaliningrad’s mayoral elections. “This region will be second to the last in terms of Putin’s results. The election there will be very painful, and I do not know what the government will do with its power during these elections,” explained Dmitry Oreshkin.