Kasparov says he was blocked from race
Backers couldn’t nominate him

By Mike Eckel, Associated Press December 14, 2007

MOSCOW – The Kremlin appears to have checkmated chess genius Garry Kasparov, eliminating the internationally known figure from the presidential race.

Kasparov said yesterday that his bid collapsed because supporters were blocked from renting a meeting hall to nominate him – part of President Vladimir Putin’s campaign, he said, to snuff out any viable opposition and turn Russia’s March 2 ballot into a virtual one-man contest.

The move makes it impossible for Kasparov to challenge Putin’s chosen successor as a candidate. But even if his supporters had nominated him, Kasparov would have faced formidable barriers, such as a Putin-era law forcing independent candidates to gather 2 million signatures – nearly one out of 50 Russian voters – for a spot on the ballot.

Kasparov has said that requirement would be impossible to fulfill. “We all knew I wasn’t running . . . because we don’t have an election,” Kasparov said in an interview yesterday. “It just shows that this game is fake at each stage.”

Under Russian law, independent candidates can run for president only if a group of at least 500 supporters meets formally to vote on the nomination. Yesterday was the deadline for notifying the Central Election Commission of such a meeting.

Source: Boston Globe

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