Russia bars pro-peace candidate from presidential ballot: Electoral Commission

Russia bars pro-peace candidate from presidential ballot: Electoral Commission

Russia bars pro-peace candidate from presidential ballot: Electoral Commission

Russia’s Central Electoral Commission rejected the candidacy of Yekaterina Duntsova, a former journalist and city councillor advocating for peace in the upcoming presidential elections.

The commission cited “mistakes in documents” submitted by Duntsova, preventing her from progressing to the next stage, which involves gathering thousands of supporters’ signatures.

Despite campaigning “for peace and democratic processes,” Duntsova’s bid to stand in the elections, expected to be won by President Vladimir Putin, was unanimously rejected by the commission, according to Russian television.

Putin confirmed his participation in the election scheduled for three days beginning March 15.

Pamfilova told her: “You are a young woman, you have everything ahead of you.”

Duntsova, 40, had filed documents to stand in the March race as an independent candidate. She was required to provide documents proving that a group of at least 500 people had held a meeting backing her.

“A people’s initiative is not needed, is not welcomed,” Duntsova told journalists afterwards, saying she would not have time to file another application as an independent candidate.

She wrote on social media that she would file an appeal against the ruling with the Supreme Court.

– ‘Should have a choice’ –

She also urged the leadership of liberal party Yabloko to nominate her as its candidate.

Yabloko, Russia’s oldest democratic party, “should not stand on the sidelines. Russians should have a choice”, she wrote on Telegram.

Duntsova told journalists on Saturday “we are now waiting for some official, public answer on whether (Yabloko) are prepared to support me so we meet the deadline” of January 1.

Yabloko’s co-founder Grigory Yavlinsky said in a YouTube video broadcast on Saturday that the party is not nominating any candidate.

The 71-year-old was unable to comment on Duntsova’s request for nomination, saying he “had no idea” about her.

Candidates from political parties lacking MPs in the national parliament, like Yabloko, have a less arduous procedure to participate than independents.

They have to gather signatures of 100,000 supporters by the end of January, while independent candidates have to find 300,000.

Duntsova said she was sure her supporters had no illusions about the outcome of the presidential “elections” in inverted commas.

But “you must not do nothing”, she wrote on Telegram, since standing as a candidate is the “last legal opportunity for citizens to express their disagreement with the policies of the current authorities”.

Pamfilova said Saturday that 29 people have filed to run for the presidency.

Moscow has for years sidelined opposition figures from elections and political life, a clampdown that accelerated after the Kremlin ordered Russian troops into Ukraine in 2022.

With inputs from agencies.