President Putin On Aspirations And Political Competition In Russia

Society and authority want "normal political competition in the country, not a vain struggle that weakens the state system and undermines the prestige of authority and the very point of democracy," said Russian President Vladimir Putin at the constituent congress of the all-Russia party Yedinstvo and Otechestvo /Unity and Fatherland/. The president regards consolidation of centrist forces as a natural phenomenon. "The times of political radicalism are receding into the past," said Putin. "The future belongs to people who are capable of overcoming their ambitions and rejecting narrow corporate interests." The people of Russia are right when they believe confrontation policy has nothing to do with their interests, he added. The president wished the new party success in spreading its influence over the country's regions, and urged it to draw more talented and hard-working people into its ranks. According to Putin, laws related to parties and the system of elections are now being perfected and will soon open up broad vistas before the party. "You will have a chance to take part in forthcoming elections of all levels," he said.