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Kasparov abandons presidential bid

MOSCOW, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Russian opposition leader and chess legend Garry Kasparov said Wednesday he is abandoning his presidential campaign.

"My electoral campaign finishes tomorrow," Kasparov was quoted by the BBC as saying.

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Kasparov said the difficulty he was having in meeting the requirement of getting his Other Russia bloc to meet in Moscow was reason for his decision, the British network reported.

A frequent critic of President Vladimir Putin, Kasparov has accused the government of thwarting opposition to Putin aide Dmitry Medvedev, whom Putin has backed to succeed him as president.

Russian election law requires that presidential hopefuls who are not affiliated to one of four major parties that won seats in parliament must provide the details of 2 million supporters across the country.

Presidential contenders must also organize an "initiative group" meeting of at least 500 supporters before a December deadline.

"In all Moscow we have not been able to find a hall where our supporters could meet," Kasparov said. "We pay and the people agree. There are no problems. And then they call us to say they are refusing, can't give us the hall anymore," he said.

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