Photo: EPA-EFE/MAXIM SHIPENKOV
The presidential aspirations of liberal politician Boris Nadezhdin ended on Thursday when the Central Election Commission (CEC) rejected his candidacy over what it said was a higher-than-permitted proportion of invalid signatures supporting his nomination.
Nadezhdin, a liberal politician and critic of the war in Ukraine, briefly captured the imagination of pro-democracy Russians frustrated with Vladimir Putin’s quarter of a century in power, with his proposed run in March’s elections.
Despite not holding any political position of note since being a member of Russia’s State Duma between 1999–2003, Nadezhdin’s candidacy saw long lines form in cities across Russia last month as people queued up to add their signatures to his candidacy application.
During the CEC session on Thursday morning, CEC commission member Boris Yebzeyev said that 9,147 signatures of the 104,734 submitted by Nadezhdin’s campaign had been recognised as invalid.
Another commission representative, Nikolay Bulaev, said that 858 signatures had been disqualified following receipt of information from the Interior Ministry, which he said indicated the use of old databases by the Nadezhdin campaign for the falsification of signatures..
The CEC also said that it had identified 11 people known to have died who added their signatures in support of Nadezhdin’s candidacy.
“I do not agree with the decision of the Central Election Commission. I collected more than 200,000 signatures across Russia,” Nadezhdin said in a statement issued immediately after the CEC’s decision was announced on Thursday, adding that his campaign had acted “openly and honestly” and that “the queues outside our headquarters and collection points were seen by the whole world.”
Nadezhdin said he would be appealing the CEC decision to Russia’s Supreme Court.
The CEC also decided not to allow Sergey Malinkovich, a candidate from the Communists of Russia, to run in the presidential election. He was found to have 8,979 defective signatures.
As a result, four candidates will now be on the ballot: incumbent Vladimir Putin, the Communist Party candidate Nikolay Kharitonov (CPRF), the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party’s Leonid Slutsky (LDPR) and Vyacheslav Davankov of the New People party.