Russia's Communist leader denies merger with pro-Kremlin party

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Moscow, April 24 (UNI) Russian Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov today denied his party was going to merge with the pro-Kremlin Just Russia party.

Mr Zyuganov was reacting to the oft-repeated proposal by Just Russia leader Sergei Mironov that the two parties should merge and join their forces.

Mr Mironov is also the chairman of the Federation Council, the upper house of Russian parliament.

''Mr Mironov is not an opposition leader but is loyal to the party of power (United Russia party). Mironov has created a dummy ballot and votes for all of United Russia's proposals,'' Mr Zyuganov said.

He added a coalition or merger was only possible if both parties shared common ideas and objectives.

''Unite, for what purpose? To support United Russia? I am totally opposed to their policies,'' the Communist leader told RIA Novosti news agency, referring to the possible merger with the United Russia party.

President Vladimir Putin's United Russia party won a landslide victory at the December 2 parliamentary poll with 64.3 per cent of the vote, followed by the Communists (11.57 per cent), the Liberal-Democratic party (8.14 per cent) and the Kremlin loyalist, Just Russia party (7.74 per cent) The Communist Party said all the other parties that gained seats in the State Duma election were mere ''Kremlin lackeys'' and dismissed the results as rigged.

United Russia also formally nominated Dmitry Medvedev as presidential candidate in the recent poll, securing him a landslide victory.

UNI XC RJ BST1708

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