Russian Supreme Court rejects lawsuit demanding Putin be removed from presidential race

Russian Supreme Court rejects lawsuit demanding Putin be removed from presidential race
The Russian Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit – filed by another candidate in the race – seeking the cancellation of President Vladimir Putin’s registration as a candidate for the 2018 election.

The lawsuit requesting Putin be removed from the presidential race was filed in mid-February by presidential candidate, journalist and socialite Ksenia Sobchak, who is running as a candidate for the pro-business party Civil Platform. She describes herself as a “none of the above” candidate for those who wish to register their disapproval against the political situation in Russia.

In a letter to the court, Sobchak explained that Putin’s candidacy should be annulled because he has already repeatedly occupied the post, saying that he was elected president three times and also was acting president in early 2000, before he was first elected.

In addition, Sobchak accused Putin and his longtime ally, Dmitry Medvedev, of alleged “conspiracy to grab the presidential post for their group for a long period of time or indefinitely.” She was referring to the situation of 2008-2012 when Medvedev served as Russian president and Putin chaired the government. In the same letter, Sobchak said that this move was just “castling.”

Currently, the Russian Constitution allows the same person to run for the presidency for an unlimited number of terms on one condition – there can be no more than two consecutive terms. This is why Putin could not run for the presidency in 2008 after winning in 2000 and 2004. In 2012, the condition regarding consecutive terms was not applicable, so Putin ran in the election and won.

On Friday, Judge Nikolai Romanov announced the verdict rejecting Sobchak’s lawsuit. Earlier in the day, prosecutors said that the arguments listed in the lawsuit “were based on an erroneous interpretation of the law.”

Sobchak’s press secretary, Ksenia Chudinova, said in comments with RBC that their team planned to file the lawsuit again, but did not go into details.

The Russian Presidential Election is scheduled for March 18. There are currently eight candidates in the race and public opinion polls predict that Vladimir Putin will win in the first round.