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Kasparov rules out running for Russian president

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Russian opposition leader Garry Kasparov said Thursday he would not be able run for the presidency, as authorities have taken steps to make this impossible.
MOSCOW, December 13 (RIA Novosti) - Russian opposition leader Garry Kasparov said Thursday he would not be able run for the presidency, as authorities have taken steps to make this impossible.

By Russian law, before nominating a presidential candidate, a meeting must be held of at least 500 supporters who formally give their backing to the candidate. Candidates were obliged to inform the Central Election Committee of the place of the meeting by December 13.

However, Kasparov said his coalition, The Other Russia, had been unable to hire a venue for such a meeting.

Kasparov's press secretary Lyudmila Mamina said in an interview with the New York Times: "It was clear that an order had been given by the authorities to prevent us from gathering anywhere." Private companies and individuals leasing venues immediately refused when they heard his name mentioned, she said.

According to Kasparov, the group had on several occasions reached an agreement on hiring a venue, and paid money, but then "they call us and say that they refuse - they can no longer offer us the hall."

Other compulsory procedures to forward a presidential candidate include providing proof of income and property to the Central Election Commission by December 18.

Kasparov, an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin who he accuses of turning Russia into a "police state", was arrested in central Moscow in late November while leading a pre-election rally of The Other Russia. Kasparov was held in custody for five days, on charges he had violated rules for public gatherings.

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