Russian opposition politician Grigory Yavlinsky may be banned from running for president in the country’s upcoming elections, officials from the country’s Central Election Commission (CEC) said on Monday. As much as 23 per cent of signatures on petitions supporting a presidential run by by Yavlinsky, leader of the anti-government party Yabloko (‘Apple’), were invalid and possible grounds to prevent his name from being on the March 4 ballot, the Interfax new agency reported, quoting CEC spokeswoman Yelena Dubrovina.
Russian election law requires politicians to collect petitions of support to register as a presidential candidate. As much as 23 per cent of some 200,000 signatures in pro-Yavlinsky petitions submitted to the CEC are invalid, Dubrovina said. The legal maximum of invalid signatures on such petitions is 5 per cent. The CEC would complete a second review of Yavlinsky’s petitions by Thursday, she said.
‘This was an absolutely political decision,’ Yavlinsky said at a Moscow press conference. ‘I am not being allowed into the election because the authorities don’t want to give the people political alternatives.’ Yavlinsky alleged that Russia’s government led by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the heavy favourite in the presidential race, wants him locked out of the election so that Putin would win the vote with a clear majority in first round.