Moscow: Mikhail Prokhorov, one of Russia`s
richest tycoons and New Jersey Nets basketball team owner,
says he will challenge Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in next
March`s presidential election.
While he was cautious not to cross Putin`s path in the
past, Prokhorov may pose a serious challenge to Putin, whose
authority has been dented by the December 4 parliamentary
election and massive protests against vote fraud.
Prokhorov said today that a decision to run for president
was "the most important decision" in his life.
Putin`s hand has been weakened by a significant drop of
support for his party in the parliamentary vote.
Opposition parties and election monitors say that even
that result was inflated because of fraud.
Tens of thousands Muskovites rallied Saturday to protest
vote-rigging and urge an end to Putin`s rule.