MOSCOW (AP) — The Kremlin hinted Tuesday at attainable authorized repercussions for Russian opposition chief Alexei Navalny over his requires a boycott of the March presidential election.
President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, would not touch upon the Election Commission’s resolution to bar Navalny from working however stated the “requires boycott should be rigorously studied to see if they’re breaking the regulation.”
As anticipated, Russia’s high election physique on Monday formally barred Navalny from a presidential run. Navalny, an anti-corruption campaigner and Putin’s most distinguished rival, promptly put out a video assertion saying that the ban reveals “Putin is very scared and is afraid of working in opposition to me.” He known as on supporters to steer clear of the vote in protest.
Meanwhile, Putin’s backers convened Tuesday afternoon to formally nominate him for presidency after he introduced that he’ll run as an impartial candidate.
Prominent lawmakers, movie actors, musicians and athletes gathered at a Soviet-era exhibition corridor to endorse him. Putin didn’t attend due to different engagements, Peskov stated.
Putin, who has been in energy for 18 years and is predicted to simply win one other six-year time period, has to this point avoided campaigning. Navalny, in the meantime, has been aggressively looking for votes all yr, reaching out to probably the most distant elements of the nation.
Peskov rejected ideas that Navalny’s absence from the poll might dent the legitimacy of Putin’s attainable re-election.
Russian regulation does not particularly prohibit somebody from calling for an election boycott, however authorities final yr blocked entry to a number of web sites that did so.
Navalny rose to prominence in 2009 with investigations into official corruption and have become a protest chief when a whole lot of 1000’s took to the streets throughout Russia in 2011 to protest electoral fraud.
A couple of years later, and after a number of short-term spells in jail, Navalny confronted two separate units of fraud costs, which had been considered as political retribution aimed toward stopping him from working for workplace. In his solely official campaign earlier than his first conviction took impact, Navalny garnered 30 % of the vote within the race for Moscow mayor in 2013.
The European Union stated in a press release on Tuesday the choice to maintain Navalny off the poll “casts a severe doubt on political pluralism in Russia and the prospect of democratic elections subsequent yr.”
The EU’s spokeswoman for international affairs, Maja Kocijancic, pointed to a European Court of Human Rights ruling that Navalny was denied the precise to a good trial when he was convicted in 2013.
“Politically motivated costs should not be used in opposition to political participation,” Kocijancic stated.
Lorne Cook contributed to this report from Brussels.