Putin critic Navalny barred from Russian presidential election

Russian opposition leader nominated for president, Kremlin pressured to allow him to run

However, CEC Chair Ella Pamfilova said, "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 the election of the President of the Russian Federation". Twelve members of the 13-member commission voted to bar Navalny.

The presidential election will take place on March 18, while campaigning officially began on Monday. The process in which we are called to participate is not a real election.

Mr Navalny has vowed to lead a campaign to boycott the vote if he is not allowed on the ballot. "It involves only Putin and those candidates whom he personally chose, who do not pose a slightest threat to him".

Polls show President Vladimir Putin is on course to be comfortably re-elected, meaning he could remain in power until 2024. "It would be better if Putin was to be replaced by anyone", Komendant said.

The Central Election Commission decided unanimously that the anti-corruption crusader isn't eligible to run.

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Speaking before the vote, Mr Navalny told the commission that their decision to bar him would be a vote "not against me, but against 16,000 people who have nominated me, against 200,000 volunteers who have been canvassing for me".

"You are not robots, you are living, breathing human beings you are an independent body. for once in your lives, do the right thing", he said.

Boris Ebzeev, one of the officials, said: "We're talking about the law and abiding by the law".

Navalny is now prohibited from running for political office due to a criminal record stemming from 2013 embezzlement charges he and his supporters claim were politically motivated.

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