The Supreme Court of Russia has upheld the Central Election Commission's decision to deny Liberal-Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky the status of an electioneer for presidential candidate Oleg Malyshkin. Therefore, the court has rejected Zhirinovsky's appeal against the respective resolution of the Election Commission dated February 17, 2004. The reasons for today's decision of the court will be outlined in the full version of the verdict to be prepared within three days. After that, an appeal can be filed against this decision. Zhirinovsky has already declared his intention to appeal against the court verdict.
The two main television channels of Russia have not allowed Zhirinovsky to participate in the debates between candidates for President because he was not an official electioneer. The TV channels referred to the Election Commission's instructions saying that only official electioneers can participate in TV debates, and representatives of political parties should not be allowed to take part in the discussions.
"It is absurd when a party leader is not allowed to participate in the election campaign, as it is my professional duty," Zhirinovsky underlined. He believes that the Election Commission's decision infringes on his political rights, and this decision was made on the basis of non-existent regulations. The Liberal-Democratic Party leader emphasized that State Duma members were the people's delegates and, therefore, they were not civil servants (who are not allowed to participate in election campaigns).