Former Russian president Mikhail Gorbachev is planning to help revive his Social-Democratic Party but does not want to lead it again, press-secretary of the Gorbachev Foundation Vladimir Polyakov said on Wednesday.
“Gorbachev has spoken about his intention to start the revival of the party…although he has no plans to lead it,” Polyakov said. “He only wants to help with its revival.”
Polyakov said it was too early to speak about the future leadership or composition of the party, as Gorbachev had just invited those who share social-democratic views to submit their proposals to his foundation.
Gorbachev founded the Social-Democratic Party on November 21, 2001.
It was a coalition of several social democratic parties and had approximately 12,000 members, but no seats in the Russian State Duma.
Gorbachev resigned as party leader in May 2004 over a disagreement with party chairman Konstantin Titov who had insisted, despite Gorbachev's opposition, on a deal with the pro-Kremlin United Russia Party in the previous year's general election.
On April 13, 2007, the party was dissolved due to its small membership. The vast majority of the party's base has regrouped under the banner of Union of Social-Democrats, a new party organized and led by Mikhail Gorbachev, founded on October 20, 2007.
The lower chamber of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, on Tuesday approved a law easing registration procedure for political parties in its second reading.
The new law will reduce the minimum number of members for a single party from 40,000 to 500 people.
Russia’s Justice Ministry said on Tuesday it had already received about 70 applications for the registration of new political parties.
The former head of Russia’s environmental regulator Rosprirodnadzor, Oleg Mitvol, known for high-profile campaigns against oil companies, announced on Wednesday his plans to establish a new party, tentatively dubbed “Alliance of Green – people party.”
The party may take part in regional elections as early as in the fall this year.