Kasparov ends bid for Russian Presidency

12/13/2007 – On Monday Russian President Vladimir Putin hand-picked a successor, who on Tuesday said he would ask Putin to become his prime minister. Meanwhile Garry Kasparov, former world chess champion, was forced to abandon his own bid for the Presidency after his organisation was unable to rent a convention hall anywhere in Moscow before the Wednesday deadline. News reports.

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On Monday Russian President Vladimir Putin's hand-picked successor Dmitry Medvedev was appointed candidate for the presidency, with a virtual guarantee for success, since his candidacy is supported by the incumbent president and by pro-presidental parties. On Tuesday Medvedev told Russians that if elected he would ask Putin to become prime minister, potentially perpetuating Putin’s grip on power.

Stranded on the sidelines is former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, candidate of the Other Russia opposition alliance, who was forced to abandon his bid for the presidency after he was unable to hold a meeting for the nominationing convention. Kasparov has been radically denied access to any media outlets in Russia and was recently jailed for five days for taking part in an anti-government rally.

News Stories

NYT: Kasparov Says He Was Forced to End Bid for Presidency
Garry Kasparov, the opposition leader and former chess champion, said Wednesday that he had been forced to withdraw his candidacy for president of Russia because his political movement had been unable to rent a hall in Moscow for a nominating convention, a requirement under Russian law. A spokeswoman for Mr. Kasparov said the Kremlin had pressed landlords to refuse to rent to his organization, Other Russia, a problem his campaign confronted before when it tried to hold political meetings. To formally register for the March 2 presidential vote, he would have been required to notify the Central Election Commission of his intention to hold a gathering with 500 citizens to endorse his candidacy. The deadline was Wednesday, but Other Russia was unable to rent a hall in Moscow to accommodate the gathering, according to Mr. Kasparov’s spokeswoman, Lyudmila V. Mamina. Full story here...

BBC News: Kasparov quits presidential race
"My electoral campaign finishes tomorrow," Mr Kasparov said, citing problems in finding a place to hold a meeting of his supporters in Moscow. Under Russian election law presidential contenders who are not affiliated to one of four major parties ... must organise an "initiative group" meeting of at least 500 supporters before a December deadline. "In all Moscow we have not been able to find a hall where our supporters could meet," Mr Kasparov said. "We pay and the people agree. There are no problems. And then they call us to say they are refusing, can't give us the hall any more," he said. "They refuse to give us the hall for technical reasons." Full story...

Forbes: Kasparov Checkmated
Russian chess legend Gary Kasparov has finally run out of moves against the grand master of Russian politics, President Vladimir Putin. While Kasparov's move might grab headlines in the West, it is likely to cause no more than a flicker in Russia, where his defeat, like that of all other opposition parties, is a virtual given. Kasparov and other critics of the Putin regime have accused the Kremlin of crushing democratic opposition by dominating the media, instituting electoral laws that penalize small parties, and using heavy handed tactics to break up opposition rallies and demonstrations. Full story...


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