Russia Blocks Nomination of Putin Challenger

Yekaterina Duntsova advocates peace in Ukraine
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 23, 2023 12:45 PM CST
Russia Blocks Nomination of Putin Challenger
Yekaterina Duntsova looks on after submitting her documents as a presidential candidate to Russia's Central Election Committee in Moscow on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

A Russian politician calling for peace in Ukraine hit a roadblock in her campaign Saturday, when Russia's Central Election Commission refused to accept her initial nomination by a group of supporters, citing errors in the documents submitted. Former legislator Yekaterina Duntsova is calling for peace in Ukraine and hopes to challenge President Vladimir Putin, promoting her vision of a "humane" Russia "that's peaceful, friendly and ready to cooperate with everyone on the principle of respect," the AP reports. Duntsova wrote on the Telegram messaging app, "On Dec. 23, the Central Election Commission refused to register my initiative group." According to a Telegram channel close to her campaign, the commission cited 100 errors in her nomination papers, including mistakes in the spelling of names.

"You are a young woman, you still have everything ahead of you. Any minus can always be turned into a plus," Ella Pamfilova, head of the Central Election Commission, told Duntsova at its meeting. Duntsova said that she would appeal the decision to Russia's Supreme Court, and called for leaders of the Yabloko (Apple) political party to nominate her as a candidate. Also on Saturday, Russian state media said that Yabloko party founder and leader Grigory Yavlinsky would not run for the presidency, citing the party's press service. Speaking in a live interview on YouTube after Duntsova's appeal to Yabloko became known, Yavlinsky said that he "didn't know" whether the party would consider her application.

A number of parties also announced which candidates they would be backing in the presidential election next March, when Putin will be seeking reelection. The Russian Communist Party, the second-largest party in the lower house of Parliament, the State Duma, announced after a secret ballot that it would support the nomination of Duma deputy Nikolai Kharitonov. As party leader Sergei Mironov previously said it would, the Just Russia-For Truth party formally announced that it was supporting Putin's nomination, per the AP. Parties represented in the Duma do put forward candidates to run against Putin, but they represent only token opposition and are generally sympathetic to his agenda.

(More Russian elections stories.)

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