Liberal Party Banned from Russian Election
“Russia's party barred from polls”
January 28, 2007
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Yabloko, a leading liberal political party in Russia, has been banned from competing in elections in Russia’s second largest town, St. Petersburg. According to local election authorities, 12% of the party’s signatures necessary to register were invalid; there is a limit of 10% allowed. Yabloko officials are claiming, however, that this move is politically-motivated and “the commission's decision was an attempt to muzzle the voice of the opposition to the pro-Kremlin municipal council.”
Yabloko’s platform of media and political freedom, a closer union with Europe, and opposition to the war in Chechnya often conflicts with the practices of the Putin regime. Additionally, some in Russia believe that the party has been the victim of election fraud on several occasions, most notably the 2003 parliamentary elections in which exit-polls indicated that Yabloko had attained more than the required percentage needed for representation, yet official results stated the amount fell well below the threshold and the party was not awarded any seats in the proportional representation contest.
Local elections in Russia will be held on March 11, 2007 and several opposition parties have reported running into problems registering.