US asks Russia to review refusal to register party

July 29th, 2011 - 11:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 29 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The US has asked Russia to re-examine a decision not to allow an opposition party to take part in the upcoming parliamentary polls, a US State Department official said.

Russia’s justice ministry earlier said it has refused to register the PARNAS (Party of People’s Freedom) opposition party over irregularities in its list of signatures of supporters, a legal requirement for registration.

It said the list included dead people and teenagers.

The party, which brings together five previously separate opposition groups, has denied the charges.

US Deputy Secretary of State for Human Rights and Democracy Michael Posner said America has brought up the issue with Russia, as it was seriously concerned that the party would not be able to take part in December’s parliamentary elections if it could not register.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev earlier said he did not believe the refusal by the justice ministry had a political subtext.

“Let them clean out these ‘ghost’ members and then get the party registered. But the existing system of registration should be gradually simplified. But whilst it is like this, any party must obey the rules,” he said.

Posner also said the US had on more than one occasion requested Russia to pay more attention to ethnic minority rights, and the rights of those of a non-traditional sexual orientation.

–IANS/RIA Novosti
pm/vt

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