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Russia court declines to review opposition figure Navalny’s complaint

Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny is pictured at his office in Moscow on January 16, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Russia’s Constitutional Court has reportedly declined to review a complaint from opposition leader Alexei Navalny, which he had filed over a ban on his participation in the upcoming presidential election due to a criminal record.

Without offering details, Reuters cited the Russian RIA news agency as reporting the development on Friday.

Navalny, who has sought to challenge President Vladimir Putin, has formally been barred from taking part in the March 18 election over a corruption conviction. He was given a five-year suspended sentence in a retrial earlier last year on embezzlement charges.

The decision to bar him from taking part in the election was made in December 2017 by the Central Electoral Commission, which said he was ineligible because of the conviction. Navalny said the conviction was politically motivated and has called on his supporters to boycott the vote.

Authorities are expected to investigate whether the boycott call violates the law.

The election commission’s head, Ella Pamfilova, said at the time that her institution was simply applying the law, which disqualifies Navalny because of the criminal record. Twelve of the 13 members rejected Navalny’s application as presidential candidate, with only one member abstaining.

Navalny then appealed the commission’s decision with the Supreme Court, but the Court upheld the ruling on January 6, saying its decision “remains without change.”

Details were not immediately available on why the Constitutional Court had declined to review Navalny’s complaint, but the matter may have been unrelated to the Court and not within its jurisdiction.

The 41-year-old opposition leader has said formerly that he would not “acknowledge elections without competition.” This is while there are many other candidates who have declared their intention to run.

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