President Medvedev defends registration denial to Russian party

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said there was no political motivation behind the Justice Ministry’s refusal to register the opposition Party of People’s Freedom.

The Justice Ministry denied registration to the party on Wednesday on the grounds that some of its members were dead before the constituent congress on December 13, 2010, or were underage or could not be found at the addresses indicated in the application documents.

“They should not have attempted to register the party knowing that there were some violations [in registration procedures],” Medvedev told reporters with the Moskovskiye Novosti newspaper during a visit to RIA Novosti on Thursday.

“I believe that the existing registration procedures will be gradually simplified, but any party should follow them while they still exist,” the president said.

Russian opposition leaders Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir Milov, Vladimir Ryzhkov and Mikhail Kasyanov founded the Party of People’s Freedom in 2010 and said it would put forward its presidential candidate in the summer of 2011.

Nemtsov said on Wednesday the denial of registration was a “political” decision that had no basis in law.

Russia will hold parliamentary elections in December and presidential elections next March.

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