The liberal Yábloko party, the only legal opposition party in Russia, opens the door to run in the presidential elections of March 2024, in which the current head of the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin, will most likely seek re-election.

“We expect the support of the people. If there is no popular support, there is no point in participating in the elections,” a Yábloko spokesperson told EFE this Saturday.

Several popular initiatives, with which the party claims to have nothing to do, have begun to collect signatures for the party’s historic leader, Grigori Yavlinski, to present his presidential candidacy.

Yavlinski, who has actively called for a ceasefire in Ukraine in recent months, maintains that such initiatives must reach at least ten million signatures. “This support must arrive before the start of the electoral campaign,” said the source.

If the support is not in the millions, the opposition politician will not participate in the elections, in which the Kremlin expects Putin to obtain more than 80% of the votes. If he participates as a candidate with a pacifist stance and receives “few” votes next March, that would be a “big setback” against people who oppose the war, the spokesperson points out.

Yábloko will wait until mid-December, when the Senate is expected to officially approve the date of the presidential elections and Putin announces his plans, to make a decision. The candidacy should be confirmed within the framework of the party’s federal congress, which will elect its new leaders on December 9-10.

A month ago Yavlinsky, 71, met with Putin, asking him to accept a ceasefire agreement in Ukraine. Yavlinski, who was born in the neighboring country, believes that “it is necessary to begin negotiations as soon as possible on a cessation of hostilities and he is willing to personally participate in them,” as reported by Yábloko at the time.

Known for his pacifist positions since the First Chechen War (1994-96), Yabloko never backed the annexation of the Ukrainian Crimean peninsula in 2014 and the same happened with the annexation in September 2022 of four other Ukrainian regions (Donetsk, Lugansk). , Jerson and Zaporiyia).

“For peace and freedom!” was the motto with which the liberal party participated in the September municipal elections, in which it refused to campaign in the “new territories.”

Yavlinski, who is at odds with jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, is clearly the opposition candidate most likely to be registered by the Central Election Commission.

The liberal leader was the third opposition candidate with the highest support in the survey organized by Navalny among the sectors most critical of the Kremlin, after the former mayor of Yekaterinburg, Yevgeny Roizman, and the director of Novaya Gazeta, Dmitri Muratov.

In the 2000 presidential elections he was also the third most voted candidate with 4.3 million votes, far from the almost 40 million that Putin achieved.