A Russian lawmaker who was favorite to win nomination as a unified opposition contender in a Siberian mayoral poll has been forced from the election after being expelled from her party.
Natalya Podolyak was disqualified from standing in the June 10 poll in Krasnoyarsk after Vladimir Zhirinovsky sacked her from his nationalist Liberal Democratic party over what he described as “a breach of party discipline” and “adventurism.”
“She has no right to participate in an [opposition] primary,” Zhirinovksy told the Moskovsky Komsomolets tabloid on Wednesday. The primary election to decide on a unified opposition candidate to go up against current vice mayor Edkham Akbuklatov, who is backed by the ruling United Russia party, is expected to take place this Saturday.
Nine contenders remain.
Zhirinovsky could not be contacted by RIA Novosti. Podolyak told Krasnoyarsk’s Dela.ru website she would take part in Saturday’s primary despite her expulsion from the party.
“I will back the coalition in which I entered,” she said. “Many voters were going to vote for me anyway.”
“I don’t understand why the party wanted me to lose the election,” she told Moskovsky Komsomolets earlier.
She also said that she Zhirinovsky intimidated her over the telephone and that a LDPR envoy dispatched to confront her in person warned that she would have to leave Krasnoyarsk, some 4,200 kilometers east of Moscow, unless she agreed to quit the coalition.
None of the two other parties in the coalition, the Communist Party and A Just Russia, were available for comment.