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8 Feb, 2024 15:04

Liberal Russian presidential hopeful fails signature test

Too many of Boris Nadezhdin’s backers were not deemed valid by the election authority
Liberal Russian presidential hopeful fails signature test

Boris Nadezhdin, a Russian presidential hopeful running on a platform of restoring good relations with the West, has failed to earn a place on the ballot after he was deemed to lack sufficient public support.

Russia’s Central Election Commission announced on Thursday that it had rejected Nadezhdin's candidacy after finding an excessive number of invalid signatures in the paperwork submitted by his campaign.

The law requires that a certain number of registered voters from all parts of Russia express support for a presidential bid by identifying themselves and signing up for a candidate before he or she is allowed on the ballot. The commission is tasked with verifying that the records are valid. On Monday, it warned that around 15% of signatures in Nadezhdin’s lists of supporters had failed the screening, which far exceeds the 5% limit.

The politician, who was nominated by the liberal Civic Platform party, said the decision was expected. He complained that the screening process is too restrictive and said he intends to challenge the decision in the Supreme Court.

Nadezhdin had intended to campaign on liberalizing elections in Russia, redistributing power in favor of the municipal and regional authorities, privatizing the economy, and cutting taxes. His foreign policy positions include ending the Ukraine conflict, abolishing military conscription as part of demilitarization, and restoring good relations with the US and its allies.

Four people have been approved by the commission to run for the Russian presidency in March: Vladislav Davankov of the New People party, current President Vladimir Putin, who is running as an independent and is the frontrunner, Leonid Slutsky of the nationalist LDPR party, and Nikolay Kharitonov of the Communist Party.