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Putin Offers Yabloko Observers Election Monitor Role

© RIA Novosti . Yana Lapikova / Go to the photo bankRussia’s Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin
Russia’s Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin  - Sputnik International
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Russia’s Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin said he is ready to allow election observers affiliated with Grigory Yavlinsky's opposition Yabloko party to monitor the March 4 presidential elections.

Russia’s Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin said he is ready to allow election observers affiliated with Grigory Yavlinsky's opposition Yabloko party to monitor the March 4 presidential elections.

The Russian election commission officially refused to register the founder of Russia's liberal opposition party Yabloko as a presidential candidate last week, thereby disqualifying his team of observers.

“Grigory Yavlinsky has a good team. There are a lot of professionals," Putin said at a meeting with young lawyers who want to be observers at the presidential elections on March 4. "I don’t know anything about the observers but I think they have been carefully selected. That is why I gratefully accepted this initiative, please do engage them. I would eagerly pass the required number of mandates if they want to implement this work,”  he added.

Yavlinsky collected two million signatures in support of his bid as required by law, but two consecutive checks showed 25.66 percent of them were invalid. Yavlinsky's supporters claim the decision to remove him from the presidential race was connected with Yabloko's intention to send thousands of observers to monitor polling stations.

The Russian presidential election is scheduled for March 4 2012. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, moderate social democratic leader Sergei Mironov, populist firebrand Vladimir Zhirinovsky, billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov and communist leader Gennady Zyuganov are now officially registered to take part in the presidential race.

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