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Navalny’s non-participation not to affect legitimacy of election — Kremlin

Russia’s Central Electoral Commission refused to register a group of electors in support of Navalny's self-nomination due to his felony conviction

MOSCOW, December 26. /TASS/. Blogger Alexei Navalny’s non-participation in the 2018 Russian presidential election will not affect its legitimacy, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

When commenting on the Central Election Commission’s decision to reject Navalny’s candidacy registration due to his felony conviction, Peskov said that "undoubtedly, if one of those willing to run for president is denied participation in accordance with the law, it cannot affect the legitimacy of the election."

According to Peskov, the Kremlin is familiar with various statements made by political analysts but does not share the opinion that the CEC’s decision to reject Navalny’s presidential bid may affect the election campaign.

At the same time, the Russian presidential spokesman declined to comment on the CEC’s decision. "The CEC is guided only by the current electoral law," Peskov stressed.

"Calls for boycott should, of course, be thoroughly studied in terms of their compliance or incompatibility with our legislation," he noted, commenting on the statements that Navalny made after his presidential bid had been rejected.

Navalny barred from running for president

Russia’s Central Electoral Commission earlier refused to register a group of electors in support of Navalny's self-nomination due to his felony conviction. According to the CEC, a gathering of an electors’ group in support of Navalny’s nomination to run for president complies with the legislation but he has no right to enter the presidential campaign over his conviction that has not been expunged.

Under Russia’s law, citizens who have outstanding convictions for grave and especially grave crimes are barred from running in presidential elections. At the same time, those committing grave crimes are deprived of the opportunity to run for president for ten years after their convictions are expunged, while those convicted for especially grave crimes do not have a chance to run in elections for 15 years.

In February 2017, Navalny was handed a five-year suspended sentence with a probation period of one year and five months as part of the Kirovles embezzlement case. Besides, in 2014, Navalny and his brother Oleg were convicted for embezzling the Yves Rocher Vostok company’s funds. Alexey Navalny received a suspended sentence of three years and six months, while Oleg Navalny was sentenced to three years and six months behind bars.

However, Navalny claims that only those who are serving their sentences in prisons cannot run in the presidential election.

CEC head Ella Pamfilova has many times pointed out that Navalny is not eligible to run for president because of his felony conviction. However, in her words, he will be able to stand in the election after 2028.