ST. PETERSBURG, September 22 (Itar-Tass) —— Grigory Yavlinsky, a co-founder and former leader of the Yabloko party, said on Thursday he was ready to run for Russian president in case his party wins seats in the State Duma, or lower house of parliament, in elections of December 4.
“If we score five, six, or seven percent in the State Duma elections, I will take part in the presidential race,” he said, adding, “In this case, the party will consider my nomination as its candidate.”
He said the issue of his running for presidency will depend on whether it is necessary to collect signatures or not. According to Yavlinsky, it is practically impossible to collect two million signatures across Russia in the period from December 20 to January 15, a period of New Year and Xmas vacations. He recalled that back in 1996, a total of six million signatures were collected in his support, but that was in April-May.
If the turnout in the December elections to the State Duma and the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly is at least 70 percent, it is highly likely that Yabloko will score ten percent of the vote in the State Duma elections and at least 15-18 percent of the vote in St. Petersburg, according to Yavlinsky. “Today we do not see the slightest chance that the party may not win seats in the State Duma, neither we see the slightest chance that Yabloko may not form a faction in the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg,” he stressed.
Yavlinsky said he had agreed to top the party list for elections to the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly and did not rule out that he may become a member of that assembly. “It will be a great honour for me to be elected to the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg,” he said. He also said in case his party wins seats in the federal legislature he will “be a leader of the parliament faction and will work in close contact with lawmakers from the Petersburg legislature.”
On September 10-11, a Yabloko congress discussed the party’s election platform and fixed a list of nominees who would run for seats in the Russian State Duma at parliament elections of December 4. The list was topped by the party’s former leader, Grigory Yavlinsky, who then said that the party would decide on the presidential campaign based on the Duma election results. “If, but to put it more accurately, when Yabloko wins seats in the State Duma, I think it will nominate its candidate for presidential elections,” he said.
In order to be allowed to take part in the State Duma elections, Yabloko, which has no seats in the current Duma, will have to collect at least 150,000 signatures.