A campaign poster for Vladislav Davankov, a candidate in the upcoming 2024 presidential elections, in St. Petersburg. Photo: EPA-EFE/ANATOLY MALTSEV
The final ballot for Russia’s March presidential election will offer voters a choice of four candidates, including incumbent President Vladimir Putin, Russia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) announced on Friday.
The three approved candidates standing against Putin are Vladislav Davankov of the New People party, Leonid Slutsky of the Liberal Democratic Party, and Nikolay Kharitonov of the Communist Party. All three are currently deputies in the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, who support the war in Ukraine.
The election has the fewest number of candidates on the ballot since Putin first ran for president in 2000, according to journalist Farida Rustamova.
All three challengers are under international sanctions for their support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Davankov is best known for spearheading a 2023 bill criminalising gender transition, while Slutsky is notorious for being at the centre of sexual harassment allegations in 2018.
The announcement comes a day after the CEC officially refused to register the candidacy of Boris Nadezhdin, the sole critic of the war in Ukraine to have been nominated in the race. Nadezhdin said he would be appealing the CEC’s decision at the Russian Supreme Court.
Previously, the commission also rejected the candidacy of Sergey Malinkovich (Communist Party) and Yekaterina Duntsova (independent), citing administrative issues with their filings.