Russian Court overturns Kasyanov's appeal to join presidential race

Other News Materials 5 February 2008 19:23 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Russia's Supreme Court on Tuesday refused former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov's appeal over his disqualification from standing as a candidate for the March 2 Russian presidential elections, news agency Interfax reported.

The Central Elections Commission (CEC) barred the opposition leader from running last month, ruling that over 16 per cent of the two million signatures submitted in support of his candidacy had been forged.

By law, over 5 per cent of error in lists is enough to disqualify a candidate - but Kasyanov countered that he considered the decision political and an "infringement" on his rights.

The Supreme Court decided Tuesday to uphold the CEC's rejection of Kasyanov's candidacy.

Kasyanov's lawyer Konstantin Prokhorov called the court's decision "illegal and unreasonable."

"We will continue to appeal against the decision," he was quoted by Interfax as saying Tuesday.

Kasyanov held office under President Vladimir Putin but turned critical of the administration after being dismissed in 2004.

Polls show that Kasyanov posed little threat to the front-runner, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, who is backed by Putin.

It came as no surprise in the Kasyanov camp when his appeal was overturned. He has complained throughout the campaign of official harassment and accused Putin of personally being behind his disqualification.

Medvedev is virtually a shoe-in to the presidency, currently enjoying popularity ratings as high as 80 per cent.