The “main demand” at the planned opposition rally in Moscow on February 4 must be the registration of Russian liberal leader Grigory Yavlinsky as a presidential candidate, Vladimir Milov, an opposition leader, said on Monday.
The Russian Central Election Commission invalidated more than 20 percent of the signatures Yavlinsky collected in support of his candidacy for the March 4 presidential election in a first check. His total number of signatures is now below the two million required by law and his application for registration appears certain to be rejected.
“I am positive that the demand for Yavlinsky’s registration must be the main demand at February 4 rally. It will not be too late to achieve this,” Milov wrote in his Twitter account.
Another veteran opposition leader, Boris Nemtsov, said politics - not the number of his signatures - are to blame for the rejection of Yavlinsky’s candidacy.
“It has long been clear that the presidential election will be unfair. Current regulations do not allow the opposition to take part in them. We will have to struggle for fair elections after this falsified election,” Nemtsov was quoted as saying on Newsru.com website.
He said Prime Minister Vladimir Putin “personally decides who will be running in the election” and “the fewer candidates there are, the greater the chance of winning in the first round.”
The Russian Central Election Commission is also likely to exclude Irkutsk Governor Dmitry Mezentsev from the presidential race. Sampling of the signatures he collected showed more than five percent are invalid, which is over the legal limit.
The only independent presidential candidate who submitted a valid list of signatures was billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. His list contained less than five percent invalid signatures, the Central Election Commission said.
Candidates from political parties are not required to collect signatures. Registered presidential candidates from parties are current prime minister and leader of the ruling United Russia, Vladimir Putin, A Just Russia leader Sergei Mironov, Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov and Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky.