Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister and leader of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, proposed on Friday that his party's election lists should be approved by the people, not only the party leadership.
"The people trust United Russia and vote for this party. This means they have the right to know who will represent the interests of their regions in the country's parliament," Putin said during a meeting with the party leadership on Friday.
In order to improve United Russia's political performance, the level of competitiveness inside the party should be raised, Putin said.
The party needs "fresh, interesting people who understand the problems and are ready and able to solve them," he said, calling on United Russia lawmakers to specifically address problems that exist in their regions.
Boris Gryzlov, the speaker of the Russian parliament's lower house and the head of the United Russia's Supreme Council, said preliminary elections of 600 candidates for State Duma mandates will be held ahead of the polls due in December.
"This openness for society is extremely important for the final result," he said, adding that this would allow the party to understand its priorities in the run-up to the elections.
Putin also called on United Russia members to focus on the upcoming parliamentary elections rather then discuss who will run in the 2012 presidential polls. Both former president Putin and Medvedev, who succeeded him in 2008, have repeatedly said that they will make a joint decision on which of them will stand for the 2012 elections depending on the existing political and social situation in the country.
NOVO-OGARYOVO (Moscow Region), April 15 (RIA Novosti)