Opposition Groups Discuss Partnership

Garry Kasparov and Vladimir RyzhkovRussian opposition groups have started active discussions about proposing a single unified opposition candidate to the 2008 presidential elections. According to Denis Bilunov, an executive officer of the United Civil Front (OGF), discussions are under way with independent politician Vladimir Ryzhkov, and the Union of Right Forces (SPS) party. A cooperation like this would mark the widest opposition coalition to date in Russia.

Earlier, it became know that the People’s Democratic Union (NDS), a party led by former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, had agreed to join forces with SPS, and had accepted a supplemental clause “on trusted individuals” for the presidential coalition.

Boris Nemtsov, an SPS front-man, proposed a possible outline for how a single candidate could be chosen. As potential contenders, he named Garry Kasparov (OGF), Vladimir Ryzhkov, Mikhail Kasyanov, Grigory Yavlinsky (Yabloko), Vladimir Bukovsky, and himself. According to his design, each of the politicians could collect the two million signatures required to appear on the ballot. However, each of the contenders must also pledge to serve as an envoy for whoever is ultimately chosen at the unified candidate.

On November 28th, NDS presented paperwork for a coalition treaty, which will most likely provide the basis for choosing a unified candidate. According to the document, the single candidate will independently lead his own electoral campaign, and will undertake to coordinate the main points of his platform with the coalition.

Earlier this year, the Other Russia led its own primary campaign. The coalition selected Garry Kasparov of the United Civil Front as its presidential candidate.