Zyuganov Says He Will Remain Head of Party

Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov on Thursday dismissed reports that his party was planning to replace him as leader.

Zyuganov said the Kremlin and pro-Kremlin parties were trying to discredit the party after the Communists filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging the legality of December's State Duma elections and after it voted against Vladimir Putin's confirmation as prime minister in the State Duma on May 8.

"As a normal person I'm indignant at tricks of this kind, but as a politician I am satisfied that ... I forced those working to weaken the party out into the open," Zyuganov said, Interfax reported.

In the past few weeks, a number of media outlets have cited sources inside the party and the Kremlin in reports the Communists would to replace Zyuganov with his deputy, Ivan Melnikov.

The Communists, who won 57 of the Duma's 450 seats in the Dec. 2 elections, have petitioned the Supreme Court seeking to have the vote annulled.

The suit claims media coverage was heavily skewed and that there were serious breaches of election laws during both the campaign and the actual voting.

United Russia won 315 seats.