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Opposition blogger Navalny to appeal against ruling barring him from presidential campaign

The opposition figure noted, however, that he was "skeptical" about his chances of winning that appeal

MOSCOW, December 25. /TASS/. Opposition blogger Alexei Navalny said he would appeal against the decision of the Russian Central Electoral Commission (CEC) that has refused to register an electors' group in support of his self-nomination over his conviction for a grave crime.

"We will of course challenge this decision everywhere. With the Constitutional Court and wherever it is possible," Navalny said. The oppositionist noted, however, that he was skeptical about the chances.

A total of 12 CEC members voted on Monday for the decision to deny Navalny the right to run for president. CEC member Nikolai Levichev abstained from voting.

As the CEC said, a gathering of an electors’ group in support of opposition figure Navalny’s nomination to run for president complied with the legislation but he has no right to enter the presidential campaign over his conviction that has not been expunged.

"The group [of electors in support of Navalny’s self-nomination] raised no critical remarks on the documents because they have been properly formalized," Central Electoral Commission chief Ella Pamfilova said.

Meanwhile, CEC member Boris Ebzeyev noted that Navalny had been convicted in 2017 for a grave crime. A person deprived of freedom for committing a grave or an especially grave crime and has a remaining or unquashed conviction has no right to take part in the elections, he added.

"The crime Navalny was charged with [the large-scale embezzlement case] is referred to grave offences, depriving an individual of the right to take part in the elections for 10 years from the date the conviction is removed or cancelled," Ebzeyev said, adding that Navalny still had an unexpunged conviction.

Navalny’s conviction

Under Russia’s law, citizens cannot take part in the polls if they were convicted for high-graded felonies, and have outstanding convictions. They are banned from running in the election for 10 years after being convicted for a serious crime.

In February, Navalny was handed a five-year suspended sentence with a probation period of 1 year and 5 months as part of the embezzlement case (Kirovles case) by a court in Kirov. This offence falls under an elevated grade of felonies. Navalny and his brother Oleg were also convicted for embezzling funds of the Yves Rocher Vostok company. Alexey Navalny received a suspended sentence of 3 years and 6 months, while Oleg Navalny was sentenced to 3 years 6 months in a general-security colony.

However, Navalny announced his plans to take part in the presidential campaign claiming that under the Russian Constitution only convicts don’t have the right of being elected.

Head of Russia’s Central Election Commission Ella Pamfilova said on many occasions that Navalny cannot run for president in the 2018 race over his outstanding conviction. According to Pamfilova, Navalny will be able to take part in the election after 2028.