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    RYBKIN WON'T PARTICIPATE IN THE ELECTION DEBATE ON TV

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    Moscow, February 20, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent Nikolay Makarov). The Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation officially refused Ivan Rybkin participation in the election debate by means of teleconference. It was a unanimous decision made by all of the 15 members of the Commission.

    Mr. Rybkin himself requested the Central Election Commission permission to participate in the London-Moscow teleconference.

    Alexander Veshnyakov, head of the Commission, reminded Mr. Rybkin of the fact that the Law stipulates "physical, but not virtual presence. This provision must be understood literally".

    According to Mr. Vishnyakov, there are only two exceptions to this provision-disease or performance of official duties. "But we didn't have any information about Mr. Rybkin's disease", said Mr. Veshnyakov. - 0 - (MAN/SM)

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