Russia opposition party denied registration

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The Russian justice ministry has refused to register an opposition party which seeks to mount a challenge to the Kremlin in the upcoming parliamentary elections, a party aide said on Wednesday.

Last month, former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov, former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov and several other politicians submitted documents to register a new opposition party they dubbed the People's Freedom Party (Parnas).

"The party has been denied registration. The reason for this is so far unclear," Elena Dikun, an aide to Kasyanov, told AFP.

Political observers have said the chance of the fiercely opposition party being registered ahead of the polls was nearly non-existent.

The party's leaders had earlier said the justice ministry's refusal to register the party would be a sign that the Kremlin was not prepared to tolerate dissent in the runup to elections.

Russia's fragmented opposition stands virtually no chance of mounting any serious challenge to the Kremlin as Russia heads into parliamentary elections in December followed by a presidential vote three months later.

Opposition leaders are frequently harassed in Russia. Nemtsov said earlier this month that unknown assailants had mangled his Range Rover by throwing a toilet bowl on the car when it was parked in central Moscow.

The party plans to call a news conference for Thursday, said Dikun.

© 2011 AFP

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