Kasyanov to Take His Bid to Court

Former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov will appeal to the Supreme Court over his disqualification from running in the March 2 presidential election, his spokeswoman said Friday.

The Central Elections Commission barred Kasyanov last month, ruling that hundreds of thousands of the 2 million signatures he had to submit in support of his candidacy were forged, incorrect or spoiled. "Kasyanov is appealing to the Supreme Court because more than 2 million people voted for him when they signed his petition, and he needs to see this out to its conclusion for them," said Yelena Dikun, Kasyanov's spokeswoman.

Kasyanov was President Vladimir Putin's first prime minister but became a vocal critic after his dismissal from the government in 2004. Polls show he enjoys little popular support, but analysts said his outspoken criticism annoyed the Kremlin. Kasyanov denied the charge of submitting invalid signatures and said Putin had decided to bar him from the election.