Russian officials have refused to register nearly 30 candidates for elections to Moscow’s local parliament, including prominent critics of President Vladimir Putin despite protests over the move.
Opposition politicians have been fighting to get on the ballot for September’s elections to the Moscow city legislature as they seek to capitalise on growing public discontent over falling living standards and unchecked corruption.
But many observers say authorities have used spurious reasons to prevent popular allies of opposition leader Alexei Navalny from running for the Russian capital’s legislature.
Yesterday Moscow election officials definitively rejected most of the prominent opposition figures from participating, citing lack of viable signatures.
The rejected candidates, including Navalny ally Lyubov Sobol and former MP Dmitry Gudkov, said the officials refused to look at proof that the signatures were rejected without grounds by unidentified “graphology experts”.
At her meeting with the officials, Sobol said she was ready to present videos recorded by those whose signatures were rubbished, in which they reaffirm their support for her.
But Sobol’s arguments were ignored.
“You spat in the face of voters,” she told the committee after they barred her from running. “You leave people no choice but to take to the streets.”
Sobol had declared a hunger strike at the weekend demanding a transparent process of signature review and fair treatment of all candidates.
The opposition claims that many candidates loyal to mayor Sergei Sobyanin were registered without a stringent review despite violations.
The final list of candidates is set to be published today.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed reports of foul play by officials, saying only a court could determine that.
“If there are any objections or complaints, one can always go to court,” Peskov told reporters. “So far, any other conclusions are nothing but rhetoric.”
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