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Democratic parties to boycott 2004 presidential election
MOSCOW - At its party convention held over the weekend, Yabloko said it would not participate in the forthcoming presidential election, citing a lack of democratic principles, free and fair electoral conditions in the country as the grounds for such decision. Earlier, the Union of Right Forces, or SPS, another party with a liberal political platform, also said it would not take part in the election. Political experts had expected these parties to put their differences aside and map a unified strategy for the 2004 election. Yabloko Chairman Grigory Yavlinsky told delegates at the party congress that all discussions with the SPS regarding proposing and/or supporting one candidate had been terminated, according to Kommersant. Ex-SPS Chairman Boris Nemtsov said Yabloko’s decision was predictable, but did not upset him very much. He added that his main objective at the moment is to create an active democratic coalition, which can help democrats to win regional elections next year. Meanwhile, Vladimir Ryzhkov, who had been previously rumored as the most probable single democratic candidate to challenge President Vladimir Putin and others the March 14 election, said he would not run, according to Izvestia. However, democrats now fear that some pseudo-democratic candidates might appear to create an illusion of a democratic election. According to Kommersant’s source in the Kremlin, such candidates might include Chuvashia President Nikolai Fyodorov and Novgorod Oblast Gov. Mikhail Prusak. Some political experts say the SPS might support such candidates, while Yabloko has already ruled out such line of action.
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