With some five months left before the 2012 presidential elections, four co-chairmen of the tiny unregistered Russian party PARNAS are divided about a presidential candidate.
The liberal People’s Freedom Party (PARNAS) is co-chaired by former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov, former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov, ex-lawmaker Vladimir Ryzhkov and former deputy energy minister Vladimir Milov. The party was denied registration earlier this year.
At the party congress on Saturday, Kasyanov, Ryzhkov and Nemtsov are to propose not choosing a candidate if the authorities refuse to annul the procedure for compulsory signature collection for would-be heads-of-states.
Under the Russian law, only parties in the State Duma have no need to collect signatures to support their presidential candidates. Others need 2 million signatures from all over the country in support of their presidential bid.
“The three co-chairmen have already prepared a draft resolution on the party’s presidential candidate. They are ready to choose a candidate only after the authorities scrap the collection of signatures,” said the fourth co-chairman, Milov.
He added that the resolution, if approved, will virtually mean the party’s voluntary dissolution.
“We prepared for a collective action, but this is something completely different,” Milov said.
Another co-chairman, Ryzhkov, said the party would demand the authorities to guarantee access to presidential elections.
“We have potential candidates, but before putting them forward we would like to receive guarantees from the authorities,” he said. “And it’s not only about collecting signatures.”