moscow - Russian opposition politician Alexej Navalni can not participate in the presidential election of next year. The election committee drew a line through the candidacy of the 41-year-old politician because of a conviction from his past.
Twelve of the thirteen members of the election committee decided to exclude Navalni from election participation. One committee member abstained due to possible conflicts of interest. The committee called the conviction of Navalni in a controversial fraud case as a reason to exclude the outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin.
Navalni previously called that condemnation politically motivated. He announced not to resign to the election committee's decision and to appeal. Also, Navalni called his supporters to boycott the ballot box, because according to him it is not a 'real election'. 'Only Putin and candidates selected by him participate', he said in a video message.
Before the vote, the opposition politician had unsuccessfully tried to persuade the committee members to allow his candidacy. 'You are an independent organ. Do for once in your lives what is right, 'he said. Followers of Navalni applauded, but the committee was not impressed. 'We are talking about the law and the compliance with the law', one of the members reacted.
President Putin (65), according to polls, is heading for a large victory in the presidential election. He would then remain in power until 2024.