Three liberal Russian parties to merge

November 16th, 2008 - 3:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Nov 16 (DPA) Three liberal parties currently not represented in the Russian parliament have decided to join forces under the new a new outfit styled “Just Cause”.The parties - the Union of Just Forces (SPS), the Democratic party and the Citizens’ Force - announced Saturday in Moscow that they
would merge into a new unit to contest the March 2009 parliamentary elections, former SPS deputy chairman Leonid Gosman was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

Representatives of other Russian opposition parties criticized the plans, saying the new party would be too close to the Kremlin.

According to Moscow radio broadcaster Echo Moskvy, the agreement to disband did not proceed without conflict. Russia’s leading liberal politician Boris Nemtsov as well as Maria Gaidar, daughter of the former prime minister Yegor Gaidar, protested the move.

The SPS was co-financed by former oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovski until his imprisonment in 2003.

The Democratic Party at its founding in 1990 was the single political alternative to the Communist Party. After the fall of the Soviet Union the party lost most of its support.

The Citizens’ Force was founded in 2004 under the name Free Russia.

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