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Russian anti-war election candidate barred from running against Putin

The decision was made during a ruling on Thursday by the Central Election Committee (CEC) of Russia, the body tasked with registering and verifying potential candidates.

According to the CEC, Nadezhdin only collected 95,587 legitimate signatures, 5,000 short of 100,000 benchmark

Nadezhdin has disputed the CEC claims regarding the signatures and said he will appeal the refusal of his registration to the Supreme Court. He also said he would dispute the committee’s regulations.

“No one has any doubt that hundreds of thousands of people really signed for me. There is no doubt about it,” Nadezhdin said following the ruling. “We will appeal the regulations and the collection procedure itself.”

But the move indicates that he will join a number of anti-war activities to be isolated from Russia’s political scene, as Moscow prepares for a presidential election that international observers consider a mere formality.

Nadezhdin, a former State Duma MP who intended to run as an independent

candidate from the Civic Initiative party, has a staunch anti-war stance and openly challenges Putin’s policies, positioning himself as the sole presidential hopeful willing to openly oppose the invasion of Ukraine.

Thousands had lined up in cities across Russia and elsewhere in Europe since early January to give their signatures in support of Nadezhdin, with volunteers collecting expats’ signatures in cities from London and Paris to Georgia’s capital Tbilisi.

But his campaign struck difficulties when the CEC working group claimed to have identified over 15% invalid signatures in the paperwork required to run for president, exceeding the permissible 5% for registration.

He then failed in an effort to have the meeting on his participation moved to Saturday. Nadezhdin argued that he needed additional time to thoroughly examine the concerns and prepare his counterarguments.

On Thursday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov reacted to the commission’s unanimous ruling, saying, “There are certain criteria that a candidate must meet. What we heard from the Central Election Commission today is that [there] was a large number of flaws in the signatures. Therefore, an important criterion has not been met.”


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