Russia’s Navalny calls for election boycott as officials ban him from running

The anti-corruption advocate is vowing to appeal the election commission’s ruling. Navalny has already called for a nationwide boycott of the vote in March; he’s ineligible to stand due to recent convictions.

Russia’s leading opposition figure Alexei Navalny has called on Russians to boycott next year’s presidential election, even as he vows to appeal a government ruling barring him from the campaign.

The Central Election Commission voted unanimously on Monday to ban Navalny from the 2018 campaign because of a criminal conviction in a fraud case, which Navalny considers a politically trumped-up charge to keep him out of politics.

Navalny argued previously before the commission that the European Court of Human Rights had lifted his conviction, and told the commission that banning him from the March 18 election would render it illegitimate.

“The procedure that we’re invited to take part in is not an election,” he said. “Only Putin and the candidates he has hand-picked are taking part in it.”

“Going to the polls right now,” he said, “is to vote for lies and corruption.”

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