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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Unity to Become Party

MOSCOW -- The Unity movement formed to back Vladimir Putin's bid for the presidency decided Saturday to become a political party and said President-elect Vladimir Putin could be its leader.

"The time has passed when the head of state remains above political parties," Unity's current leader, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shoigu, said after a meeting of its political council.

In televised remarks, Shoigu said Unity would formally turn itself into a political party at a congress set for next month. Shoigu said Putin would have to decide himself whether he wanted to lead the party.