Russian liberal opposition leader Grigory Yavlinsky could be barred from running against Vladimir Putin in a presidential election after officials said Monday there were problems with his registration as a candidate. Opinion polls show Yavlinsky has no chance of winning the March 4 election but the refusal to let him run would be a slap in the face for leaders of protests by tens of thousands of demonstrators demanding fair elections and political reform. Central Election Commission officials told Russian news agencies there were errors in about a quarter of the 2 million signatures of support Yavlinsky had submitted as a requirement to enter the election, much higher than the permitted amount.
A final decision on his candidacy is expected to be announced by the commission later this week or next. Reducing the number of candidates could improve Putin’s chances of winning the election in the first round, avoiding a run-off he would face if he does not receive at least 50 percent of the votes cast.
“This is a totally political decision,” Yavlinsky, 59, told a news conference, a view shared by other opposition leaders and representatives of the Yabloko party he co-founded.
Full Article: Putin foe could be barred from Russian election | Reuters.