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Russian court rejects former PM's request to enter presidential race
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09:27, February 06, 2008

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Russia's Supreme Court has rejected former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov's request to overturn the election administration's decision to deny his candidacy in the March 2 presidential election.

The Supreme Court ruled that the Central Election Commission's (CEC) decision was appropriate, Itar-Tass news agency reported on Tuesday.

Kasyanov's lawyer, Konstantin Prokhorov, has said the court's decision was wrong and they would appeal against it.

On Jan. 27, the CEC voted unanimously to refuse to register Kasyanov as a candidate for the election, alleging there were too many forged signatures among the 2 million that he was required to gather from supporters for registration.

The CEC said that 13.36 percent of the signatures were invalid, exceeding the 5-percent threshold.

Prokhorov, however, said that the authenticity of the 2 million signatures in Kasyanov's support had not aroused any doubts of CEC members, and the reasons for declaring over 80,000 signatures void were utterly groundless.

According to Russian election law, Kasyanov needs 2 million signatures of support to register as a presidential candidate because he does not represent a party in the Russian parliament.

On Jan. 16, the former prime minister, who later became an outspoken critic of the Kremlin, submitted documents including 2 million signatures to the CEC for registration as a presidential candidate.

However, polls showed Kasyanov, who served as prime minister in President Vladimir Putin's first term, had little chance of winning.

Russia officially set out its presidential campaign Saturday, with First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as a candidate favored to win.

Other candidates for the March election include Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, head of the Russian Liberal-Democratic Party Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Chairman of the Russian Democratic Party Andrei Bogdanov.

Source: Xinhua

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