Medvedev makes final push for Russia ruling party votes

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President Dmitry Medvedev on Friday made a final push to win votes for ruling party United Russia in legislative polls, saying the country needed a stable parliament untroubled by divisions.

Medvedev is heading the party list for United Russia in Sunday's elections and opinion polls have shown that while it is still almost certain to keep a majority in parliament its support may be eroding after years of dominance.

In an address to the nation being broadcast across the country's nine time zones, Medvedev made clear he did not want to see a squabbling and tightly contested parliament of the kind Russia had in the 1990s under Boris Yeltsin.

He said Russia needed a "credible legislative organ where the parliament majority carries out responsible politics capable of helping raise the quality of life of our people."

He spoke out against electing a parliament "that is torn by irreconcilable contradictions and is not capable of deciding anything, which unfortunately we have already had in our history."

"Make the right choice on December 4," he told voters on what is the last day of legal campaigning.

Medvedev did not mention United Russia directly but his comments were a clear call to vote for the party whose dominance has been compared by critics to the grip of the Communist Party on the USSR.

Up to three relatively tame opposition parties are expected to win seats in the next parliament, with liberal anti-Kremlin forces again not represented and the Communist Party the largest opposition faction.

But a relatively weak showing for United Russia would be troubling for the authorities after the announcement that Vladimir Putin will seek to return to the Kremlin in 2012 polls determined Russia's medium term political future.

Medvedev is to take Putin's current post as prime minister, in a job swap that will continue their tandem rule of Russia for the years to come.

© 2011 AFP

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