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Yabloko holds pre-election congress outside Moscow

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MOSCOW, September 15 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian liberal Yabloko party is holding the 15th party congress as part of its election campaign outside Moscow, a RIA Novosti correspondent said Saturday.

The key issue on the agenda is to approve party lists for parliamentary elections scheduled for December 2. According to preliminary reports, Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky will top the lists. Sergei Ivanenko, the party's first deputy chairman, famous lawyer Sergei Kovalyov and MP Sergei Popov could be Yabloko's other top three candidates.

Yabloko is the first party to have opened a congress in the run-up to the polls. All the other Russian parties running for seats in parliament will hold pre-election congresses in the next two weeks.

Yabloko failed to make it to the Duma during the previous elections in 2003 with slightly over four percent of votes.

According to a poll held recently by the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM), only four parties in Russia have the chances of overcoming the newly introduced 7% barrier to be elected to the State Duma: the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, the Communist Party (KPRF), the newly established Just Russia and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR).

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