Russia eliminates challenge from liberal opposition party | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 22.06.2011
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Russia eliminates challenge from liberal opposition party

The Russian Justice Ministry has refused to register the liberal opposition as a political party, a spokesman has said. The decision means they will be unable to challenge the Kremlin in the forthcoming elections.

Boris Nemtsov and Mikhail Kasyanov

Kasyanov (center) wanted to unite the oppostion

The Russian opposition coalition revealed Wednesday that Russia's Justice Ministry had denied them the right to register as a political party.

The decision means the liberal Party of People's Freedom will be unable to take part in the parliamentary election in December.

"The upcoming elections cannot be regarded as free," said Mikhail Kasyanov, a former prime minister and one of the party's leaders.

The coalition party was formed last month to unite Russia's previously splintered opposition.

Kasyanov, along with former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov and several other politicians, submitted registration documents for the new opposition party in May, in order to mount a challenge to the Kremlin in upcoming parliamentary elections.

The Party of People's Freedom also planned to put forward a candidate for the presidential election next March.

Registration was unlikely

A conference of the Party of People's Freedom

The Party of People's Freedom planned to challenge the Kremlin

Party leaders have claimed that the news comes as proof that the Kremlin is not prepared to tolerate dissent in the build-up to the elections.

Political observers have commented, however, that there had been little chance that the party would be granted registration ahead of the polls.

The Justice Ministry refused to comment, alleging it had heard nothing about any such decision.

Opposition leaders in Russia have often complained of harassment. Earlier this month, Nemtsov reported that unknown assailants threw a toilet bowl at his Range Rover, causing serious damage.

Author: Charlotte Chelsom-Pill (AFP, Reuters)

Editor: Martin Kuebler

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