Malik Saidullayev, a Chechen politician and businessman, has announced in Moscow that Chechen would-be presidents are seeking to join hands in the run-up to the elections against Akhmad Kadyrov, the acting president of the republic, who was earlier appointed head of the Chechen administration by the Russian president.
Saidullayev said he had met nearly all presidential candidates and those only intending to get registered. Among them he named Beslan Gantamirov, Ruslan Khasbulatov, Said-Selim Peshkhoyev, and Said-Khamzat Gairbekov.
"One of us will remain after the first round," the businessman is convinced.
We have agreed to support any candidacy, except Kadyrov, that will garner the majority of votes, he emphasised.
"If we realise that these elections cannot be won legally, we have decided to make a joint statement, withdraw from the elections and refuse to recognise them as valid," said Saidullayev.
Legitimate elections, in his opinion, should be monitored by numerous international observers.
"We should do everything it takes to make elections in Chechnya democratic," Saidullayev said. In his words, the entire Chechen population is coming out for elections, including members of illegal armed formations. They are not only stationed in the mountains but also live in settlements and will therefore go to the elections, Saidullayev said to newsmen.
All these people are ready to return to peaceful life, Saidullayev said.
The businessman and politician described the situation in Chechnya as "more or less normal." Saidullayev continued that he had already filed documents with the election committee of Chechnya as a candidate for the presidential post of the republic.
Presidential elections in Chechnya are slated for October 5th, 2003.