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    Gorbachev's new party to hold founding congress in September

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    Mikhail Gorbachev's Independent Democratic Party of Russia will hold its founding congress in early September, the party's executive secretary said on Friday.

    MOSCOW, July 10 (RIA Novosti) - Mikhail Gorbachev's Independent Democratic Party of Russia will hold its founding congress in early September, the party's executive secretary said on Friday.

    The former Soviet president and businessman Alexander Lebedev announced they were setting up the party in September 2008.

    Alexander Zakondyrin said the party's organizing committee had already informed the Russian Justice Ministry about its intention to establish a new political structure.

    "A decision about the organizational form and the leadership is to be taken during the congress. We are in favor of a collegiate structure. There will be no chiefs," he said. "It could be a group of co-chairmen, who would in turn be in charge for half a year, as happens in the European Union."

    Zakondyrin said that besides Gorbachev and Lebedev, the list of leadership contenders included the director of the Center for Research into Postindustrial Society, Vladislav Inozemtsev, and politician Vladimir Ryzhkov, who is director of macroeconomic research at the New Economic School.

    Zakondyrin said the new party would campaign for reform of the electoral, judicial, pension and law enforcement systems, de-monopolization of the Russian economy, development of alternative energy sources, and friendly relationships with former Soviet republics.

    "We consider the party a new coalition independent from authorities. The Yabloko party is in theory an appropriate partner for us in this process," he added.

    Yabloko leader Sergey Mitrokhin said: "We are ready to negotiate with all democratic forces. If they turn to us, we will discuss this question."

     

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