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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yavlinsky Ready to Run in '08

Yabloko intends to nominate its leader, Grigory Yavlinsky, to run for president next year, further complicating efforts to field a single opposition candidate.

Yabloko council delegates decided Saturday to recommend that Yavlinsky be nominated at the party's main convention in the fall, although other candidates could also be considered, including Federal Anti-Monopoly Service head Igor Artemyev and ombudsman Vladimir Lukin, Itar-Tass reported.

Yavlinsky, 55, said he would agree to run, Yabloko spokeswoman Yevgenia Dilendorf said.

The announcement deals another blow to hopes of the country's increasingly marginalized and fragmented opposition to agree on a common candidate. The movement led by former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov nominated him as its candidate at a conference earlier this month. Yukos chairman Viktor Gerashchenko has said he also would run, as has Soviet-era dissident Vladimir Bukovsky.

Garry Kasparov, the former chess champion who has played a key role in organizing anti-government protests, and other opposition politicians have said that fielding a single candidate is the only chance to confront the Kremlin.

But Dilendorf said members of Yabloko's council spoke strongly against any kind of alliance with Kasparov's United Civil Front and other groups in the Other Russia movement.

Yavlinsky has moderated his criticism of President Vladimir Putin in recent years, and more radical opposition leaders such as Kasparov accused him of being submissive.

Yavlinsky said Friday that Yabloko had decided to participate in State Duma elections in December and the presidential vote after a "heated discussion" within the party, Interfax reported.

"We must clearly and concisely say: We are against Putin, against his domestic and foreign policy," he said.

Yavlinsky has twice run for president, in 1996 and 2000, but he only got 7.42 percent and 5.8 percent of the vote, respectively. He did not try to challenge President Vladimir Putin in the last election in 2004.

MT, AP