Russia’s Election Commission has barred Kremlin critic Mikhail Kasyanov from standing in a presidential ballot in March. It says many of the required signatures of support submitted by the former prime minister were either forged, incorrect or spoiled.
He denies that and is now calling for a boycott of the polls. He said: “The hopes of millions of Russians who expected that President Putin would fulfil his main constitutional duty and ensure free and fair elections have not come true.”
One of the other three registered candidates, the Communist leader Gennady Zuganov, yesterday called on the Kremlin to ensure the election was fair. He complained that President Vladimir Putin’s chosen candidate, Dmitry Medvedev, was dominating air time on state television.
The opposition is frustrated with a campaign they say is slanted in favour of Medvedev. The Kremlin maintains Western demands for fairness are being respected.