State Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznyov said Thursday he would run for governor of the Moscow region, a decision that takes him out of a tough battle for a Duma seat in St. Petersburg, where he would face former Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin.
The Duma and gubernatorial elections are both scheduled for Dec. 19.
Seleznyov said he was running in response to a request from members of scientific organizations and ordinary citizens at a party conference. "I've accepted," Seleznyov was quoted as saying by Interfax. "A victory in the Moscow region is very important. I will try my fate here." He added that the region was potentially prosperous but that the current authorities were not able to make the most of their resources.
The registration deadline is Nov. 4. Candidates named as potential contenders include former Cabinet Minister Boris Fyodorov and incumbent Anatoly Tyazhlov, but so far none has registered.
Seleznyov said he would keep his place on the Communist Party Duma slate, which practically guarantees him a seat in the next Duma. Half the seats in the Duma are allocated by the vote for the parties' slates, and half from voting in districts like the one in St. Petersburg.
Political analyst Nikolai Petrov of the Moscow Carnegie Center said that Seleznyov had little chance in the Moscow region, which surrounds but does not include the capital, and was only looking for a graceful exit from the race against Stepashin.
Read the full text at The Moscow Times.