It's Final: Yavlinsky Is Out

Liberal opposition leader Grigory Yavlinsky will not take part in the presidential race.

Central Elections Commission Secretary Nikolai Konkin has announced that in the second verification procedure 25.66% of signatures in support of the Yabloko nominee proved unreliable or invalid. This means that Yavlinsky will not be registered as a presidential nominee.

Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, also a candidate for the post, has condemned the removal of Yavlinsky from the race. According to Prokhorov excluding Yavlinsky would be ‘a blow to the legitimacy of the election’ because voters will be limited in their choice as the founder of the Yabloko party ‘represents liberal values’. The owner of the New Jersey Nets basketball team called the requirement to collect signatures ‘humiliating’.

Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov also condemned the Yavlinsky’s withdrawal from the elections. It is likely that he will get most of the protesters’ votes because if Putin fails to secure 50 percent of the first-round vote, Gennady Zyuganov will be his most likely contender in the run-off.

Thus, five candidates will take part in the race: Vladimir Putin, Gennady Zyuganov, head of the Liberal Democratic Party Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Mikhail Prokhorov and leader of Fair Russia party Sergey Mironov.