MOSCOW, February 8. /TASS/. Russia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) has declined to register presidential hopeful Sergey Malinkovich of the Communists of Russia party as an official candidate to be listed on the ballot in next month’s election after detecting a large number of fake signatures submitted in his support.
"The decision has been made," CEC Chairwoman Ella Pamfilova said at a meeting of the Russian electoral body.
As many as 104,998 signatures have been submitted for Malinkovich, of which 96,019 have been found to be valid, while the commission deemed 8,979 signatures to be invalid after analyzing 60,000 signatures.
At the meeting, the candidate himself called his party Russia’s most opposition-minded party, which, he said, has no claims to the CEC. "We respect the decision made by the CEC," Malinkovich said, acknowledging that although the signatures in his support had been collected in a fair manner, "formal errors" were made in the process.
On February 5, a CEC working group handed protocols with results of the verification of signatures to Malinkovich’s election campaign. The presidential hopeful later told TASS that the share of invalidated signatures exceeded the official limit of 5% of the total number submitted on the candidate’s behalf.