MOSCOW, August 8 (Itar-Tass) - Moscow’s acting mayor Sergei Sobyanin is still undecided whether he is going to take part in TV debates, the press service of the Moscow mayor’s office told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
A source at the Moscow city electoral committee said that any candidate for the Moscow mayor had the right to announce his participation or non-participation in the debates two days before they started. This is a candidate’s right rather than an obligation. That is why a refusal to participate in the debates is not regarded as violation of election laws.
The first debates in which all mayoral candidates are expected to appear simultaneously will be broadcast live the Moskva 24 Channel on August 12.
In his recent interview with the Vedomosti daily, Sobyanin said that he did not feel like participating in the debates.
“On the one hand, I have done everything to make these elections open and honest in terms of the election law, technologies and vote count. On the other hand, I do not want to hand out spice cakes to the opposition any longer. I would not like to say yes to them and make them more famous,” Sobyanin explained.
Yuri Zhiganov, programs director of the Moskva Media company, which unites eight Moscow media outlets, believes that Sobyanin’s refusal to participate in the debates is unlikely to destroy the format of the program because his air time will be distributed equally among all the other candidates.