| Gennadi Zyuganov, chairman of the Central Committee of
the CPRF, said on December 15 that deciding not to run in the presidential
race was only one of his options. Yabloko leader Grigory
Yavlinsky announced the same day that he was not planning to take part
in what he called an "undemocratic" election.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) joined
Zyuganov and Yavlinsky yesterday. He said he had not made up his mind
as to whether to run for president. Zhirinovsky attributed his doubts
to Zyuganov's potential refusal to participate. LDPR member Alexei Mitrofanov
explained that challenging Zyuganov is vital for Zhirinovsky, as the LDPR
intends to oust the Communist Party as the main opposition party.
Yabloko deputy leader Sergei
Mitrokhin says that the party congress scheduled for December 20-21
will consider at least three scenarios.
Firstly, the congress may nominate a presidential candidate (Yavlinsky
may be nominated). Secondly, it may decide for a single candidate to represent
both Yabloko and the Union of
Right-Wing Forces (SPS). Thirdly, the congress may decide to have no presidential
candidate at all.
Sources in Yabloko and the SPS say that negotiations over a single candidate
are deadlocked. Boris Nemtsov, who has submitted his resignation as chairman
of the SPS federal political council, considers the possibility of a single
candidate less likely than both parties staying out of the election. He
believes that the SPS and Yabloko should urge their supporters to vote
against all candidates.
Gleb Pavlovsky of the Effective Policy Foundation says that if Yavlinsky
isn't in the race, this will have a negative effect on competition, and
therefore voter turnout. Turnout needs to be at
"Why establish a party if it doesn't participate in the elections?"
Alexander Veshnyakov of the Central Electoral Commission said yesterday.
Insiders say that Yavlinsky will probably be nominated, despite his
own statement to the contrary and despite the fact that his candidacy
is disliked by leaders of the SPS.
Pavlovsky is certain that the presidential election will be valid, as
we aren't exactly short of potential presidential candidates, you know."