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Ingushetia: Opposition Claims President Has Predetermined Election Outcome

The independent website posted on February 3 the lists of candidates for the March 2 elections to a new republican parliament registered by the four political parties participating. The website further claims that President Murat Zyazikov has decided in advance how many candidates from each party will be elected. Meanwhile, one of the republic's largest teyps (clans), the Aushevs, convened a meeting on February 2 of some 1,500 of its members who selected one of their number to represent them in the new legislature. Other clans propose doing the same, according to, and, if the outcome of the March 2 election proves to be rigged, establishing an alternative legislature.

The four parties participating in the election are the pro-Kremlin Unified Russia, with a list of 39 candidates of whom Zyazikov has allegedly decreed that 21 should win mandates: and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, the Communist Party, and the A Just Russia/Rodina/Party of Life bloc with 10, six and 22 candidates, respectively, of which two from each party will allegedly be elected. The Unified Russia list is headed by Makhmud Sakalov, speaker of the outgoing parliament. also posted on February 3 what it claims is a letter sent by the republic's Interior Ministry to the Election Commission identifying registered candidates who have fallen foul of the law. Five Unified Russia candidates fall into that category (four of them among the 21 allegedly guaranteed election), as do four from A Just Russia, and two from the LDPR. None of those latter six candidates is among those reportedly singled out for inclusion in the new parliament.

As noted above, the Aushev clan reacted with outrage to the revelation that President Zyazikov has apparently handpicked the deputies to be "elected" to the new parliament. The website on February 2 quoted an unnamed clan representative as saying that the clan meeting chose as its proposed parliamentarian Magomed-Sali Aushev, a deputy in the outgoing parliament. The clan representative acknowledged that that decision has no legal force, but at the same time he argued that it is up to the authorities to decide how to facilitate their representative's inclusion in the new legislature. If they fail to do so, he warned, the entire clan will boycott both the parliamentary ballot and the Russian presidential election to be held the same day. He said other influential clans should follow the Aushevs' example. But although claimed on February 3 that the Yevloyev, Kartoyev, and Ozdoyev clans plan to do so, there have been no reports to date of any comparable clan decisions.

Late on February 1, the organizers of the mass protest rescheduled from January 26 (when police intervened violently to prevent would-be participants congregating in Nazran) to February 23 decided after discussions with, among other agencies, the Russian presidential apparatus and the Russian Central Election Commission, to postpone it until after the Russian presidential election.

Meanwhile, writing in "Ekspert," Nikolai Silayev made the point that despite their concerted campaign of criticism of President Zyazikov, the opposition in Ingushetia has not proposed any political figure as a viable and acceptable alternative. And Musa Muradov, writing in "Kommersant-Vlast," disclosed that the Russian Interior Ministry has a vested financial interest in the indefinite continuation of the current low-level violence and reprisals in Ingushetia as its personnel receive fat bonuses for their participation in "counter-terrorism" operations there.