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    IRINA KHAKAMADA COMES OUT AGAINST BOYCOTT OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

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    MOSCOW, January 14. (RIA NOVOSTI CORRESPONDENT) -- The co-chairwoman of the Union of Right Forces (SPS), Irina Khakamada who has entered the presidential elections believes that a boycott of the elections conflicts with the interests of democracy.

    "I categorically oppose it," Ms. Khakamada said at a press conference. "A boycott of democratic procedures is actual renunciation of democracy." She announced that she would run for president to make society "more open and liberal." In the December 7 parliamentary elections, the SPS took a mere 4% of the vote and failed to overcome the 5% barrier for passing into the Duma. At a December 19 meeting, the leaders of a number of parties and movements adopted a statement calling for a boycott of the presidential elections. SPS co-chairman Boris Nemtsov was among the signatories of the statement.

    The presidential elections will be held in Russia on March 14, 2004.

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