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Fyodorov Says There Will Be No 'Third Force' Alliance

Moscow, May 8 (RFE/RL) - Russian eye surgeon Svyatoslav Fyodorov, who is running for president in Russia's upcoming election, said today that there will be n-o electoral alliance between him, economist Grigory Yavlinsky and retired General Aleksandr Lebed.

The three candidates had originally announced plans to form a united "third force" to jointly compete against incumbent President Boris Yeltsin and Communist Party challenger Gennady Zyuganov.

But speaking at a news conference in Moscow today, Fyodorov said the three candidates would all run separate campaigns. Fyodorov said General Lebed in particular n-o longer backed the idea of a joint campaign.

Earlier today, Yavlinsky was reported to have said he was ready to discuss a proposal by Yeltsin to unite all "democratic" candidates in a single bloc.

Yeltsin, who is facing a strong challenge by Communist candidate Gennady Zyuganov, made the proposal yesterday during a campaign visit near Moscow. Yavlinsky and Yeltsin have already met for one round of talks.