By Ria Novosti
Russia’s ruling United Russia party will elect Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as party leader at a party congress on Saturday.
In late April, Medvedev, who was then head of state, agreed to lead the party and became a member on Tuesday. The incumbent president, Vladimir Putin, who presided over United Russia from 2008-2012, never formally joined the party.
The 13th congress of the United Russia party in Moscow will bring together 670 delegates and about 1,600 guests. Serbia’s president-elect Tomislav Nikolic and members of about 30 foreign delegations will attend the event.
The agenda of the congress will also include the election of the party’s main bodies, including the General Council and the Supreme Council, and the adoption of amendments to the party’s charter.
On the eve of the congress, Medvedev proposed sweeping reforms within the party to make its work more efficient and transparent.
After dominating the political scene through the late 2000s, United Russia was faced with slipping popularity ahead of the State Duma elections in December, in which it narrowly clutched a majority. The vote was marred by widespread fraud allegations, though most of them were not confirmed by the courts.
United Russia, slapped with the popular derogative slogan “the party of crooks and thieves” during the elections, was accused by critics of being ineffective and having no distinct political platform. Party bosses, including Medvedev, promised after the vote a radical revamp of United Russia, whose support rating stood at 50 percent in May, according to state-run pollster VTsIOM.