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Garry Kasparov running for Russia president

October 1, 2007

Moscow, Russia - Garry Kasparov, the former world chess champion, was elected by the "Other Russia coalition" by a huge majority as he entered Russia's presidential race on Sunday.

Garry Kasparov, the former world chess champion, was elected by the Other Russia coalition by a huge majority as he entered Russia's presidential race on Sunday.

Kasparov has been a driving force behind the coalition, which has united liberals, leftists and nationalists in opposition to President Vladimir Putin, according to the Associated Press.

Vladimir Putin, who is barred by the constitution from running for a third consecutive term, has said he'll endorse the candidate he thinks is best qualified to succeed him, reports Bloomberg.

Opinion polls show voters would choose Putin if he could run again, so his endorsement is viewed as a near-guarantee for election.

Kasparov said September 19th he plans to run for president as "a symbolic statement." Kasparov has organized a series of anti-Putin marches in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities across Russia since December. He was arrested by riot police at an April 14 demonstration in Moscow. The Other Russia coalition has virtually no chance of participating in the election for the State Duma, the lower house of parliament. Only registered political parties can take part and none of the political movements that make up the Other Russia qualify.

State Duma seats are distributed among parties according to the percentage of the vote they receive.

In putting forward its candidates on Sunday, the Other Russia got a jump on United Russia, the main pro-Kremlin party, which opens its two-day congress on Monday. United Russia also is expected to pick its "troika" of candidates to head the party list.

Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, a leading party member, said Sunday that Putin could be considered for the top spot.

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