Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

FASHION

Jean-Marc Loubier, bags and shoes.

Read more

ENCORE!

Hip-hop musician Beat Assailant on mixing the sounds of the city

Read more

  • Freed French journalists arrive home after Syria ordeal

    Read more

  • French journalist tells of release from captivity in Syria

    Read more

  • Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken South Korean ferry

    Read more

  • Syria’s Assad visits recaptured Christian town at Easter

    Read more

  • UK’s Hamilton cruises to victory at Chinese Grand Prix

    Read more

  • ‘Deadly clashes’ at Eastern Ukraine checkpoint

    Read more

  • In pictures: French kite festival takes flight

    Read more

  • Militants kill Algerian soldiers in deadly ambush

    Read more

  • Scores killed in South Sudan cattle raid

    Read more

  • PSG clinch fourth League Cup title after beating Lyon

    Read more

  • Le Pen’s National Front fail to woo Britain’s Eurosceptics

    Read more

  • VIDEO: Anti-Semitic leaflets in Eastern Ukraine condemned

    Read more

  • In pictures: Good Friday celebrated across the globe

    Read more

  • Bouteflika, the ghost president

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists say ‘not bound’ by Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • Obama signs bill to block controversial Iran diplomat from UN post

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • Indian election: Votes for sale

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • West African Ebola outbreak caused by new strain of virus

    Read more

Europe

Russia's ruling party confirms Medvedev as chief

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-05-26

Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was confirmed as the new leader of the country's ruling party United Russia on Saturday. Medvedev takes over from Vlamimir Putin vowing to make the party "more understandable to the people".

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

A party congress in Moscow overwhelmingly approved 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 central Manezh hall next to the Kremlin to the 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 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."

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 Vladimir 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.

Date created : 2012-05-26

  • DIPLOMACY

    Russia's Putin 'too busy' for Obama and G8 summit

    Read more

  • RUSSIA

    Russian parliament confirms Medvedev as PM

    Read more

  • RUSSIA

    Hundreds arrested amid clashes at anti-Putin rally

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)