MOSCOW Anti-war Russian presidential candidate Boris Nadezhdin said on Thursday he would appeal to the Supreme Court after the Central Election Commission (CEC) banned him from participating in March elections that incumbent President Vladimir Putin is expected to win easily.
The CEC had previously said it had found flaws in the signatures Nadezhdin and his allies had collected in support of his candidacy and that some of the alleged signatures were from dead people.
Nadezhdin said on his official Telegram channel that he did not agree with the CEC’s decision and would challenge it before the Russian Supreme Court.
“I collected more than 200,000 signatures throughout Russia. We carried out the collection openly and honestly: the queues at our headquarters and at the collection points were observed by everyone,” said Nadezhdin.
“Participating in the 2024 presidential election is the most important political decision of my life. I will not give up my intentions.”
No one expected the 60-year-old Nadezhdin to win. Victory for Putin, 71, who has been in power as president or prime minister since late 1999 and controls all instruments of state, is widely seen as a foregone conclusion.
But Nadezhdin had surprised some analysts with his scathing criticism of what the Kremlin calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine, something he called “a fatal mistake” and had said he would try to end it through negotiations.
Kremlin critics say Nadezhdin, who has been a frequent guest on state television programs about the war, would not have been allowed to go this far in such a tightly controlled political system without the blessing of the authorities, something he denies.
The Kremlin had said it did not see Nadezhdin as a serious rival to Putin, who it claims will win the election thanks to overwhelming popular support.
As a candidate nominated by a political party, Nadezhdin needed to gather 100,000 signatures in at least 40 regions in order to run in the March 15-17 elections.
Putin, who has chosen to run as an independent candidate and not as a candidate for the ruling United Russia party, needs 300,000 signatures. According to his followers, he has already raised more than 3.5 million.
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