The forthcoming 2003 parliamentary election will put the 'United Russia' political party's claims to billing itself as "the party in power" to a tough test. One of the party's leaders Boris Gryzlov made this statement Saturday at a conference of the 'United Russia' members and supporters sitting in regional legislatures or heading municipal authorities.
Gryzlov stressed that the 'United Russia' would be primarily addressing issues of the nationwide scale instead of pursuing purely own political interests". He cited creation of "a strong, law-based and democratic state", protection of ownership rights and respect for human rights and individual freedoms among the party's top preferences.
According to the party's leader, the 'United Russia' has strong factions in 41 regional legislatures, with factions in another 24 legislatures being in the final stages of formation. In all, 700 members of the `United Russia` are deputies of the country's regional legislatures and 300 are elected mayors or heads of municipal authorities.
Europe has recognised the need for negotiations with Russia to discuss the security system on the continent. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is going to Macedonia for meetings with colleagues within the OSCE