Russia rejects candidacy of nationalist Limonov

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Russia's election commission on Sunday rejected radical opposition figure Eduard Limonov's candidacy for presidential elections in March, media reports and his website said.

The commission turned down a bid from a group of voters seeking to nominate Limonov, a writer and leader of The Other Russia party, the Ria Novosti news agency reported.

The party leader, on his website, denounced a "political crime" and said the refusal of his candidacy was reason enough "to consider the Russian presidential election invalid".

He said the commission had rejected his supporters' submission on the grounds that they did not provide the necessary paperwork, but Limonov argued the documents were in order.

Limonov, whose real name is Eduard Savenko, acquired French citizenship while in exile in the 1980s but said in November he would give it up to run for the Russian presidency.

After the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, he returned to Russia and founded the ultra-nationalist National Bolshevik Party that was banned in 2007, and has since remained a radical leftist opposition figure.

Limonov was detained on December 4 with some 20 other protesters for holding an unsanctioned election day protest in Moscow. He had also been arrested in May.

The opposition and observers say Putin's ruling United Russia party cheated its way to a slim majority in parliamentary polls this month, with public anger culminating in a series of mass protests across the country.

Opinion polls suggest that Putin's popularity has taken such a dive he will not be able to secure victory in the first round of presidential elections next year.

© 2011 AFP

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