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Russian Opposition to Boycott Vote

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TEHRAN, July 3 (ICANA) – Russian opposition leaders have called for an active boycott of the December parliamentary elections at a Moscow conference of the Party of People's Freedom.
Sunday, July 03, 2011 11:49:30 PM
Russian Opposition to Boycott Vote

Kremlin critics Vladimir Milov, Boris Nemtsov, Mikhail Kasyanov and Vladimir Ryzhkov, who addressed delegates from 50 regions, announced they will appeal in court the decision of the justice ministry not to register their party, a Press TV correspondent in Moscow reported on Saturday.

"It is an active protest against illegitimate elections. Not a single political force has been allowed to take part in them," Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister, said.

The conference comes a week after the Party of People's Freedom was denied official registration, and became the ninth party the Russian authorities have refused to register in four years.

The justice ministry refused Wednesday to register the party founded by Kasyanov, Nemtsov and several others, citing violations including listing dead people as members.

The ministry said the party had ghost members and its charter lacked the provision for the rotation of leadership required by the Russian law.

The opposition called the refusal "a political move" and accused the Kremlin of rolling back on democracy.

"The situation in media has not improved in [President Dmitry] Medvedev years, and the situation with the opposition and elections has become worse than [that of former president Vladimir] Putin years. So in rhetoric, Medvedev is liberal but in practice, in real policy, he's absolutely non-liberal," Ryzhkov said.

However, Medvedev ruled out political motives behind the denial, saying the party might be registered if it rectifies the documents. He also suggested registration law should be simplified.

Experts believe the Party of People's Freedom is weak and would hardly get any support in the election.

Andrey Kortunov, the president of the New Eurasia Foundation says, "A considerable part of the Russian population believes that stability is really important. So they would prefer to have the same group of people sitting there rather than to enter a new period of political turmoil."

The opposition plans to nominate a unified candidate for the presidential race in March, but their chances of nomination seem low.

A Levada center opinion poll said only six percent of the population would cast their ballots for the opposition candidate at the time being.

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