Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has not given a precise answer to the question of his plans about running for the second term. He said, though, that in case of his reelection he would continue to liberalize the political system of Russia.
As long as the year of the presidential vote in Russia is drawing near, foreign journalists continue to wonder whether Mr. Medvedev is going to run for his second term as president. The Financial Times reporters were not an exception.
"This is not the most original question indeed," Medvedev said ironically, speaking to the FT. "I'll tell you one thing. I think that any leader, who takes such a position as President, simply must want to run. Another question is whether he is going to make this decision for himself or not. This decision can differ from what the person wants to do," the head of state said.
As for Russia's future, Dmitry Medvedev believes it is vitally important for Russia to continue developing the political competition.
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"I would like the whole political spectrum to be present in the parliament, in the State Duma. There are parties that unite several political paradigms. This is also possible, because there is no strict political division in the country nowadays as it was a hundred years ago. It is difficult to understand at times who is a socialist and who is a liberal. Nevertheless, I believe that the entire political spectrum must be represented," he said.
There are four of seven registered parties present in the State Duma today. Their number is most likely not going to change in the Duma of the next convocation. According to popularity ratings, Yabloko, Russia's Patriots and Right Cause enjoy not more than three percent of electoral support. Their chances of becoming Duma members are minimal.
Nevertheless, Medvedev intends to break the tradition and change the rules of Duma elections.
"For example, at some point we raised the election hurdle for parties up to seven percent. I believe that it was right because the political forces were structured. There is no situation when there can be a hundred of parties in a country. This is not serious, it only means that the political system of a country is underdeveloped. We may need to make another decision and lower the limit for better political competition. Those who can not reach the seven-percent level will be able to have five, or three percent to be elected in the Duma," Medvedev said.
The president also said that his point of view regarding the question of direct gubernatorial elections was also on the move. "Several years ago I was saying that Russia did not need that and would not need that in 100 years. I would not say that now. If Russia were comparable to the USA or Germany in terms of the federal development, then any variant could be possible. The optimal system is best for us because Russia is a very complicated federation," Medvedev said.
Alexander Konovalov, the president of the Institute of Strategic Estimations and Analysis, said that such ideas would earn Medvedev additional votes if he runs for the second term.
Indeed, Medvedev's initiatives have a certain populist potential. Taking into consideration his intention to run for president, he wants to win the support of regional elites that were concerned about the abolishment of gubernatorial elections in 2004. This is also a step towards the opposition.
However, as experience shows, the pluralism of political space in Russia most often leads to chaos and instability.
"Just remember the 1990s, when there were several hundreds of parties registered. Most of them were still-born organizations. They had neither the social support, nor the necessary number of members. I believe that the extension of political space for such outcasts will undermine the political system," scientist of politics Alexander Shatilov told Pravda.Ru.
"Everyone realized during the 1990s that Russia could not afford a three-percent election hurdle. Everyone realized that three percent would trigger massive pluralism and chaos both inside parties and in the political system on the whole. I think that such initiatives are of pre-election character, and Medvedev may revise them afterwards," he added.
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