Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 3

The four electoral blocs that cleared the 5 percent barrier to enter the new Duma are discussing candidates for leading Duma posts. (7) To date, only Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s Liberal Democratic Party has announced a candidate for Duma Speaker: Vladimir Gusev. A former Communist party boss of Saratov oblast, Gusev chaired the industry committee in the outgoing Duma, but is considered to have little chance because the Communist party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) is determined to nominate its own candidate. The KPRF will hold the largest bloc of seats in the new Duma.

The communists will select their candidate at a Central Committee meeting January 10-11. The choice will indicate which wing, moderate or hard-line, holds the upper hand in the party. Gennady Seleznev, one-time Pravda editor and a deputy speaker in the outgoing Duma, is currently being touted as the likely candidate. Seleznev comes from the party’s moderate wing. Vladimir Lukin, second-ranking leader of Yabloko, welcomed Seleznev’s possible candidacy as a sign that moderates hold the upper hand in the KPRF. (8) Although Yabloko is not expected to nominate a candidate for Duma speaker, "Russia is Our Home" (ROH) bloc is determined to do so, with outgoing Duma speaker Ivan Rybkin its likely choice. Yabloko calculates that it stands more to gain should it support the communists rather than ROH on the nomination, especially as Lukin may run for deputy speaker. A January 10 Yabloko caucus will decide the issue. The bloc’s primary aim at present is to ensure that it retains the chairmanships of the influential international affairs and budget committees. (9)

Communists Hold Off on Choice of Presidential Candidate.