A Just Russia and the Communist Party are holding talks over backing a joint candidate for gubernatorial elections to be held in the Ryazan region in October, a news report said Wednesday.
Just Russia considers the best candidate for the role to be State Duma Deputy Dmitry Gudkov, a key organizer of the ongoing protest movement against President Vladimir Putin's rule, while the Communists are leaning toward regional party secretary Vladimir Fedotkin, according to Izvestia.
Fedotkin told the newspaper that he was willing to throw his weight behind another candidate if it made an opposition victory more likely.
"We are willing to support another candidate. We need a result. No one wants to simply wave a flag," Fedotkin said, adding that talks had also taken place with the Liberal Democratic Party but that no decision had yet been made.
A source in A Just Russia later confirmed to Izvestia that "very active" discussions were being held with Communists on the highest level.
The source argued that one factor in Gudkov's favor was that, "if the bet is placed on him, then a Moscow landing party will arrive in the region, and a campaign will take place on a federal level.”
Rostislav Turovsky, an analyst with the Center for Political Technologies, told the daily that the Ryazan governor's post is up for grabs, as acting Governor Oleg Kovalyov's position is weak.
Kovalyov recently resigned from his post but remained as acting governor and promised to run for re-election in the fall.
A report by the influential Petersburg Center think tank published in March suggests that United Russia member Kovalyov could struggle in a popular vote, giving him only 2 points out of 5 on a political survival scale.