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ITAR-TASS, December 21, 2003

YABLOKO decides not to nominate any candidate for presidency

By Natalya Panshina

MOSCOW, December 21 (Itar-Tass) - The Yabloko Party will not nominate its candidate for the presidential elections scheduled for March 2004, Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky told a briefing on Sunday based on the results of the two-day congress of his party.

Yavlinsky who had participated in the presidential elections in 1996 and 2000, emphasised that the party's present decision was taken as a result of a long and difficult discussion and is "a serious and not a simple one". He claimed that Russia was in the midst of a political situation, where "free, equal and politically competitive elections are impossible".

Asked whether Yabloko would support any candidate, nominated by other political forces, Yavlinsky said that this subject was "the next political decision" to be taken during the general party discussion.

The absence of an understanding on nominating a common candidate from Yabloko and the Union of Right-Wing Forces (SPS) at the presidential elections is urelated to Yabloko's decision not to participate in the elections, Yavlinsky stated.

"If we had believed it was possible to participate in the elections in the current situation, we would have nominated our candidate," he told reporters at the briefing.

The issue of participation in the elections was the main one at the congress, held in the town of
Moskovsky behind closed doors. The Union of Right-Wing Forces and Yabloko failed to cross the five-percent barrier at the elections to the State Duma on December 7. The two parties had been holding talks over the past two weeks on the possible nomination of a common candidate for the presidency, which ended in a flop.

Incidentally, Yavlinsky said that the congress had thoroughly debated the party's coalition policy, and the congress favoured cooperation with "all democratic forces", including the SPS.

Yavlinsky stressed that the party's main task for the next four years would be the formation of "a large impressive democratic party" which would operate outside the legislature as "a democratic opposition".

He underlined that his party perceives "a trajectory for the country's development, both in the economy and in the domestic policy" which differs from that ofthe present leadership of Russia.

The Yabloko leader also reported that this position was the result of a heated debate at the congress where delegates made "many serious remarks and critical appraisals", including those addressed to the party leadership. He said that a no-confidence vote in the party's leadership
had been raised at the congress.

However, the congress backed Yavlinsky's stand, and the majority voted against inclusion of the no-confidence motion on the agenda of the congress.


See also:

Presidential elections 2004

The 12th Congress of YABLOKO

ITAR-TASS, December 21, 2003

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