On Monday, December 25, the Central Election Commission (CEC) of the Russian Federation denied oppositionist Alexei Navalny’s registration as a presidential candidate in the 2018 elections. The meeting of a group of voters in support of Navalny’s self-nomination to the Russian presidential elections was within the law, said Central Electoral Commission head Ella Pamfilova; however, she said, Navalny cannot run due to undischarged previous convictions.
Commission member Boris Ebzeyev pointed out that Navalny was convicted of a serious crime in 2017, and, according to Russian legislation, cannot participate in elections for 10 years after the removal and repayment of the conviction.
"Your decision will exclude millions of people from participation in the elections," Navalny told the members of the Election Commission. "You are not robots. You are living people, you can be touched; [you are] pink, well-fed ... Can you can do one thing humanly, for once in your life? No one is standing near you with a gun at the temple!"
In his statement, which was published shortly after the announcement of the CEC's decision, Alexei Navalny called for a voters’ strike.
The CEC also refused to register a group of voters in support of the self-nominated journalist Oleg Lurye for the same reason. According to Ebzeyev, Lurie was sentenced to four years for a serious crime, and was released from prison in 2011.
A group of voters in support of entrepreneur Sergei Polonsky was also denied registration. "An analysis of the documents showed that the number of participants in the group created to support the candidate's self-nomination was less than 500, which is prohibited by law and therefore insufficient to register this group," said CEC member Yevgeny Shevchenko.
The leader of the LDPR party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, was the first person to be registered by the CEC.
The Russian presidential election will be held on March 18, 2018. The election campaign officially started on December 18.