Billionaire businessman Mikhail Prokhorov plans to run for Moscow mayor in 2015, sources close to the tycoon told Kommersant daily.
Prokhorov, who took second place in the city in March’s presidential polls with just over 20 percent of the vote, is expected to officially announce his bid at a news conference next week, the paper said.
Current mayor Sergei Sobyanin, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, proposed on Thursday allowing independent candidates to run in the elections, the first in Moscow since 2003.
Sobyanin was installed by the Kremlin following the dismissal of long-time mayor Yury Luzhkov in 2010.
Opposition parties gave a guarded welcome to Sobyanin’s proposal, saying a requirement for independent candidates to have the support of at lest six percent of municpal lawmakers – down from the 10 percent proposed by the Moscow Duma last week – could still prove a hindrance.
“That six percent shows that in Sobyanin’s move there is more PR than anything else,” A Just Russia party MP Alexander Ageyev told Kommersant.
Liberal Yabloko party leader Sergei Mitrokhin echoed the sentiment, saying the percentage is still “an obstructive barrier.”
“There are not enough opposition lawmakers to allow all independent candidates to register,” he said.