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Gazeta, February 25, 2004

"This may be called a boycott"
YABLOKO's leadership propose that YABLOKO's supporters not vote in the presidential elections

By Anastasiya Matveyeva

YABLOKO's called on its supporters not to participate in the presidential elections - such a decision was adopted at the Bureau of the Federal Council of the party held on Friday. "This may be called a boycott," said Deputy Head of the YABLOKO party Sergei Ivanenko to Gazeta. At the same time YABLOKO recommends that its supporters in several regions come to the polling stations on March 14 to participate in regional and local elections. YABLOKO advises voters to take their bulletins on the vote for the president back home with them. As a souvenir.

The December congress of YABLOKO decided not to propose a YABLOKO candidate for presidential elections, commenting that it will not support Vladimir Putin either. Only now has YABLOKO developed recommendations for its supporters regarding presidential elections.

"YABLOKO considers it impossible to participate in another imitation of democratic procedures," runs the statement of the Bureau of the Federal Council of the party. "We proceed from the premise that people see the growing lack of freedom in the country, lack of equality of participants in pseudo-democratic elections, the bankruptcy and even comic nature of the candidacies. We believe that in these circumstances non-participation in the elections of the President of the RF represents a natural form of protest for people with democratic views." Fifteen members of the Bureau voted for this decision and two against. Viktor Sheinis and one of the leaders of St.Petersburg branch of YABKLOKO Mikhail Amosov stated their support for the candidacy of Irina Khakamada. Amosov also stressed that he would not call for a boycott of the presidential elections as this could adversely affect the municipal elections in the city.

"We consider the elections to be a farce with all its consequences for the candidates and the voters who still hold some illusions," said Sergei Ivanenko to Gazeta. "To insure a future for Russia, we should demonstrate the civil position, and non-participation in the voting is the most conspicuous position for the authorities. All the developments represent only imitation of elections, and the recent statements by Irina Khakamada and Sergei Glazyev on possibly quitting the presidential race only confirm this point of view." Ivanenko also admitted that the situation is not that simple in a number of regions as on March 14 regional and municipal elections (where YABLOKO members run as candidates) will take place there at the same time as the presidential elections. In these regions YABLOKO recommends that its supporters come to the polling stations, but not take the bulletin on presidential elections from the electoral commissions. However, this trick may not work, as a voter can be offered to sign for all the bulletins at once. In this case YABLOKO's leadership proposes that its electorate simply take the bulletin for voting for the president away as a "souvenir" to avoid scandals with the representatives of the electoral commission; or vote "against all."

While discussing the position on the presidential elections, members of the Bureau voted to admit 350 new members to the party. The new members include, in particular, the Editor-in-Chief of Novaya Gazeta Dmitry Muratov, diplomat and ex-ambassador of the RF to Italy and UK Anatoly Adamishin, Director of the Centre for Strategic Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences Andrei Piontkovsky and People's Artist of the USSR sculptor Nikolai Nikogasyan. At present YABLOKO has over 80,000 members; three thousand people joined the party after YABLOKO's failure at the parliamentary elections of 2003.


See also:

Presidential elections 2004

Regional elections 2004

Gazeta, February 25, 2004

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