Russia's ruling party wants its own member representing the St. Petersburg legislature in the upper house of parliament to replace Sergei Mironov, United Russia leader Boris Gryzlov said on Friday.
Mironov, the speaker of the Federation Council, who was elected by the St. Petersburg legislature controlled by United Russia, has come under attack over his recent calls for the resignation of St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko and repeated critical statements about his home city.
"We will propose a United Russia candidate because the United Russia faction in the [St. Petersburg] legislative assembly holds a majority," Gryzlov said without specifying any names.
Gryzlov said earlier in the day Mironov should resign because of his opposition to the authorities who gave him his mandate.
The St. Petersburg legislature is to review the matter at its meeting on May 18.
Twenty-six votes are needed to unseat Mironov. United Russia has 23 of 50 seats in the legislature. The Russian Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), which has five seats, and the Communists, who hold nine mandates, have already said that they will vote for Mironov's dismissal. A Just Russia has only 13 seats in the assembly.
Mironov has admitted that the legislature "has every right to recall me from the Federation Council," but said he would like to know what the formal grounds for his recall were. He acknowledged, however, that "the law provides for my recall without any reason being given."
Mironov said on Wednesday it was "obvious" why United Russia was pushing for his resignation. "These are my political views. I don't share United Russia's ideology," he said.
In his May Day public remarks, Mironov described St. Petersburg as one of the most corrupt cities in Russia. United Russia said Mironov had done practically nothing for his home town during the 10 years he had been the speaker, only criticizing it unfairly.
In mid-April, Mironov quit as chairman of A Just Russia, a pro-Kremlin party, but suggested he would remain its unofficial leader and lead its list in December's Duma elections.
Some analysts see the Mironov case as a move by the Kremlin to cast him as an opposition figure who might subsequently head a "controlled opposition" to lend greater legitimacy to next year's presidential elections.
VOLGOGRAD, May 6 (RIA Novosti)