Russian politician Yekaterina Duntsova faces roadblock in presidential campaign: NPR

Yekaterina Duntsova looks on after submitting her documents as a presidential candidate for the upcoming elections. He was nominated from a pool of more than 500 supporters in accordance with Russian election law.

Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP


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Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

Yekaterina Duntsova looks on after submitting her documents as a presidential candidate for the upcoming elections. He was nominated from a pool of more than 500 supporters in accordance with Russian election law.

Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

MOSCOW – A Russian politician calling for peace in Ukraine hit a roadblock in his campaign on Saturday when Russia's Central Election Commission refused to accept the initial candidacy of a group of his supporters, citing errors in submitted documents.

Former lawmaker Yekaterina Duntsova hopes to call for peace in Ukraine and challenge President Vladimir Putin, promoting her vision of a “humanitarian” Russia that is “ready to cooperate with everyone on a policy of peace, friendship and respect.”

“On Dec. 23, the Central Election Commission refused to register my initiative group,” Duntsova wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

According to a Telegram channel close to Duntzova's campaign, the commission found 100 errors in her nomination papers, including misspellings of names.

“You are a young woman, you still have everything. Any minus can always be turned into a plus,” Ella Pamfilova, head of Russia's Central Election Commission, told Duntsova at a commission meeting.

Duntsova said she would appeal the decision to Russia's Supreme Court and appealed to leaders of the Yabloko (Apple) political party to nominate her as a candidate, saying she would not be able to convene a second meeting of supporters.

On Saturday, Russian state media cited the party's news service as saying that Yabloko party founder and leader Grigory Yavlinsky will not run for president. Speaking in a live interview on YouTube, Yavlinsky said he did not know whether the party would consider his application once Yabloko learned of Dunsova's request.

Duntsova took her first steps toward candidate status on Sunday, when 500 supporters endorsed her run as required by Russian election law, and she submitted documents to register her candidacy to Russia's Central Election Commission on Wednesday.

Several Russian parties have also announced which candidates they will support in next March's presidential election – which incumbent President Vladimir Putin is certain to win.

The Russian Communist Party, the second-largest party in the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, announced after a secret vote that it would support Duma deputy Nikolai Kharitonov's nomination. The Just Russia – For Truth party has officially announced its support for Putin's nomination for the presidency, as party leader Sergey Mironov said earlier.

Parties represented in the Duma put forward candidates to run against Putin.

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The Civic Initiative Party – which has no representation in the Duma – backed the nomination of independent candidate Boris Nadesht, known for campaigning against Russia's actions in Ukraine. She has the support of a group of soldiers' wives who are unhappy with their husbands' long deployments.

Meanwhile, volunteers from Putin's campaign headquarters, along with branches of the United Russia party and the People's Front political coalition, have begun collecting signatures in support of him running as an independent, Russian state media reported.

Putin submitted his candidacy to the Central Election Commission on Monday. Under Russian law, independent candidates must be nominated by at least 500 supporters and collect at least 300,000 signatures of support from 40 or more regions.

Pamfilova said on Saturday that there are 29 candidates running for the election.

While it's normal for an opposition candidate to run against Putin — broadcaster Ksenia Sobchak, for example, was a liberal opponent in the 2018 presidential election — the tight control he imposed on his 24-year rule ensured his re-election in March. . Major critics who might challenge him are in prison or living abroad, and most independent media outlets are banned.

Earlier this month, the Duma set the dates for the 2024 presidential election as March 15-17.

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