The Russian veteran liberal politician, Boris Nemtsov, has pulled out of the race to become the country’s next president. In a statement published on his website, the former deputy prime minister and Union of Right Forces(SPS) candidate says the opposition needs to put forward a single face for March’s election.
He also attacks the Kremlin saying it has turned democratic elections into what he calls a “clear-cut farce.” In the run-up to parliamentary elections earlier this month, Nemtsov was arrested along with several other prominent Kremlin critics.
Riot police moved in after protestors allegedly unfurled banners of the banned National Bolshevik party. It is unclear whether Nemtsov’s withdrawal will now be followed by another former Russian prime minister and Kremlin critic, Mikhail Kasyanov.
He has begun collecting signatures to qualify as a candidate for the presidency and needs at least two million signatures. However Vladimir Putin’s chosen candidate, Dmitry Medvedev is by far the runaway favourite as most polls show Russians will support whomever the highly popular president backs.