Opposition to Discuss 2nd Parliament

The fractured liberal opposition will meet Saturday in St. Petersburg to discuss the creation of a broad liberal alliance and an alternative parliament scheduled to convene next month.

Around 200 human rights and opposition activists, including leaders of the Union of Right Forces, Yabloko and the United Civil Front, will attend the conference, Denise Bilunov, a leader of the United Civil Front, said Thursday.

"Those who have agreed to come to St. Petersburg are ready for a union of democratic opposition forces," he said.

Nikita Belykh, the leader of the Union of Right Forces, or SPS, plans to attend, as does party co-founder Boris Nemtsov. Other planned participants include Garry Kasparov, senior Yabloko official Maxim Reznik, Soviet-era dissident Vladimir Bukovsky and Lev Ponomaryov, a human rights activist.

The congress also plans to discuss the details of a proposed alternative opposition parliament, tentatively named the National Assembly, Bilunov said. The assembly, to be comprised pro-business and leftist opposition activists, is to convene for its first session May 17 and 18.

The opposition camp has been plagued by bickering and infighting and has largely drifted into irrelevance as President Vladimir Putin has consolidated power during his two terms in office.

Nemtsov said Thursday that trying to join pro-business and leftist groups together in a single opposition movement "would be a big mistake."