05:15 GMT +323 October 2019
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    In this photo taken on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny speaks during an interview to the Associated Press in Moscow, Russia

    Russian Election Commission Declines Navalny's Presidential Bid Over Conviction

    © AP Photo / Pavel Golovkin
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia’s Central Election Commission said on Monday it would not register Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny’s initiative group for his self-nomination in the Russian presidential election due to his unspent conviction.

    "First of all, a citizen convicted to imprisonment for committing a grave or especially grave crime and has an unspent conviction for this crime on the voting day does not have a right to be elected as president," commission member Boris Ebzeyev said.

    On Sunday, Navalny, who announced his intention to participate in presidential elections in Russia as independent candidate, submitted the necessary  papers to the CEC.

    READ MORE: Russian Opposition Figure Navalny Not Entitled to Be Elected — Commission

    Navalny has repeatedly announced plans to run for president in 2018. However, CEC Chair Ella Pamfilova said that Navalny was ineligible to run because of a corruption conviction, and that he could join a presidential race only after 2028 in accordance with the Law on election of the President of the Russian Federation. Nevertheless, she noted that the CEC reviews documents of all applicants.

    Navalny received a suspended 5-year sentence in February over embezzlement of 16 million rubles ($279,000) from the state-run KirovLes timber company. Navalny claimed that the conviction was politically motivated and said that he would pursue the annulment of the sentence.

    Navalny will appeal the Central Election Commission's (CEC) decision to deny his initiative group registration for his self-nomination in the Russian presidential election over previous conviction, his election campaign spokesman Ruslan Shaveddinov told Sputnik Monday.

    According to Russian laws, an independent candidate should collect at least 300,000 signatures in support of his candidacy, no more than 7,500 signatures from every federal subject. While parties have to collect 100,000 signatures in support of their candidates, no more than 2,500 signatures from every federal subject. Parties nominate their candidates at party congresses, while independent candidates need to have an initiative group of at least 500 people for self-nomination.

    The presidential election will take place on March 18, while campaigning officially began on Monday.


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