Russian president Vladimir Putin’s main contender Boris Nadezhdin has been rejected by the election commission from contesting in next month’s presidential polls, Nadezhdin announced on social media.
The election commission found a 15.4% defect rate in Nadezhdin’s signatures supporting his candidacy. In Russia, only a maximum of 5% defect rate is permissible.
Nadezhdin said that he tried to challenge the commission’s claims that 15% of the signatures he submitted were flawed but the bid was rejected. He added that he would challenge the decision in Russia’s Supreme Court.
The anti-war proponent has faced severe backlash from the state-controlled media which says that he was being propped up by political exiles such as Maxim Katz and Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
Nadezhdin had promised that if voted to power, he would hold talks with Ukraine and immediately release all political prisoners including Alexei Navalny and Ilya Yashin.
Earlier, hundreds of people across cities in the country had come out to give their signatures in his support to allow him to be registered as a candidate.
Nadezhdin is a seasoned politician who has been around since the 1990s. Terming the Ukraine military operation as a “fatal mistake”, he criticised the government’s war efforts. He launched his campaign last year amid questions on whether he would be allowed to contest against Putin if he was not doing it without the backing of the Kremlin.
Those opposing Putin in Russia have been handed lengthy jail sentences as he has dominated the political scene in Russia since 2000.
Strengthening his grip on power, Putin brought about a constitutional amendment in 2020 that would allow him to stay in power beyond 2024. If Putin wins the polls in March, he will remain president until 2030 and will also have the option of serving another six years until 2036. In earlier elections, candidates have been able to contest only if they were thought of having no chance of winning against Putin.