Yeltsin's party prominent in official election list

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The Independent Online
AT LEAST 1,500 candidates and 13 political groups will contest Russia's parliamentary elections on 12 December, according to electoral officials. Most parties lack broad social bases and are not easily categorised into Western concepts of left, centre and right. The most prominent party is Russia's Choice, formed in support of President Boris Yeltsin by several ministers after the defeat of the October revolt.

Half of the 450 seats in the lower house, the Duma, will go to constituency candidates elected on a British-style first-past-the-post basis. The other 225 will go to candidates elected on Continental-style national party lists.

The less powerful upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, will have 178 seats. In principle, two candidates are to be elected from each of Russia's 89 regions for these seats. But the Chechen Republic in south Russia, which has declared independence, is not expected to take part.

The main groups are:

Russia's Choice: Pro-market reform, pro-private property, pro-Yeltsin. Includes many of Yeltsin's closest reformist allies, notably economist Yegor Gaidar and Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev.

Party of Russian Unity and Concord: Led by Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai. Wants gradual economic reforms and strong voice for Russia's regions.

Yavlinsky-Boldyrev-Lukin Bloc: Named after three moderate reformers, it has a similar economic programme to Shakhrai's party. Somewhat critical of Yeltsin's pro-Western foreign policy.

Civic Union: Led by Arkady Volsky, who favours moderate economic reforms to support large state-owned industries and their workers. Once powerful faction in former Russian parliament.

Russian Movement for Democratic Reforms: Led by Anatoly Sobchak, mayor of St Petersburg, and Gavriil Popov, former Moscow mayor. Pro-reform but distances itself from Yeltsin.

Agrarian Party: Wants to protect agricultural interests, especially collective farms. Conservative instincts may lead it to ally with Communists in some areas.

Russian Communist Party: Partly reformed Communists who advocate strong state role in economy and social protection. Known for links with conservative Russian nationalists.

Liberal Democratic Party: Opposite of what its name suggests. Led by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a right-wing fanatic who came third to Yeltsin in last presidential race with 6 million votes.

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