Russia’s main election authority on Thursday refused to allow a politician opposing Moscow’s military action in Ukraine on the ballot for the upcoming presidential election.
Boris Nadezhdin, a local legislator in a town near Moscow, was required by law to gather at least 100,000 signatures in support of candidacy.
The Central Election Commission declared more than 9,000 signatures submitted by Mr. Nadezhdin’s campaign invalid, which was enough to disqualify him. Russia’s election rules say potential candidates can have no more than 5% of their submitted signatures thrown out.
Mr. Nadezhdin, 60, has openly called for a halt to the conflict in Ukraine and for starting a dialogue with the West.
Speaking at the Election Commission on Thursday, Mr. Nadezhdin asked election authorities to postpone the decision and to give him more time to rebut their arguments, but they declined. The politician said he would challenge his disqualification in court.
“It’s not me standing here,” Mr. Nadezhdin said. “Hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens who put their signatures down for me are behind me.”
The presidential election is scheduled for March 15-17. President Vladimir Putin is almost certain to win the reelection given his tight control of Russia’s political system.