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MOSCOW, January 24 (Itar-Tass) — The Central Electoral Commission (CEC) confirmed on Monday that out of the three presidential candidates, who collected signatures of supporters, Mikhail Prokhorov is the only one, who has a chance to run for presidency. Irkutsk Governor Dmitry Mezentsev will not be on the list, and Grigory Yavlinsky, ex-leader of the Yabloko Party, is almost sure to be crossed out. The Yabloko maintains that the CEC resolution will undermine the monitoring of the elections: they intended to recruit 90,000 observers before March 4.
CEC was not satisfied with the signatures, collected in support of Yavlinsky and Mezentsev, because too many of them did not meet the standards, The Kommersant writes. The newspaper reminds that CEC was to check 20 per cent (400,000) signatures from two million signatures, submitted by each of the candidates. The percentage of false signatures should not exceed 5 per cent, while the number of genuine signatures, needed for registration on the results of the check-up, should be over two million.
The check-up of signatures in support for Mezentsev was stopped after 105,000 of them were checked, and 15,000 signatures were found false. Over 23 per cent (92,000) of signatures in support of Yavlinsky turned out to be false. As for the signatures for Prokhorov, experts found no more than 4.38 per cent of them that happened to be false. His registration may be discussed at a CEC meeting on January 25-26.
Yavlinsky spoke on Monday of his removal from the electoral race as an accomplished fact, The RBK Daily writes. He said that he had been removed “on the order of Vladimir Putin”. He believes the main reason for his removal from the electoral race was the fact that the authorities are afraid of “hundreds of thousands of observers, prepared by the Yabloko Party.”
Alexei Grazhdankin, deputy director of the Levada Center, is of the opinion that even if Mezentsev ran for presidency, he could hardly count on popular support, The Novye Izvestia writes. So far as the Yabloko Party is concerned, however, judging by its performance at the Duma elections, especially in Moscow and some other big cities, Yavlinsky might attract many electors. Anyway, his removal from the list of candidates will not change much the overall situation at the elections.