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25 December, 2017 12:57:35 AM

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Thousands endorse Alexei Navalny to challenge Putin

RUSSIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
AFP
Thousands endorse Alexei  Navalny to challenge Putin
Supporters of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny hold ballots as a symbol to nominate him as opposition candidate for the upcoming presidential election in Moscow yesterday. AFP Photo

MOSCOW: Thousands of Russians yesterday endorsed the candidacy of Alexei Navalny, seen as the only Russian opposition leader who stands a fighting chance of challenging strongman Vladimir Putin in a March vote, reports AFP.

Thousands of people who back the charismatic 41-year-old lawyer were meeting in 20 Russian cities to nominate him as a candidate in the presence of electoral officials to boost his chances of making the presidential vote.

In Moscow alone, more than 700 people supported Navalny’s candidacy as they gathered in a huge tent set up in a picturesque park on the snow-covered banks of the Moscow River.

“I am hugely happy, I am proud to tell you that I stand here as a candidate of the entire Russia,” the plucky Western-educated lawyer told supporters at the Moscow event which at times felt like a US campaign conference.

“We are ready to win and we will win these elections,” Navalny said before finishing his speech in a cloud of confetti.

Two members of the Central Election Commission attended the Moscow event, Navalny’s campaign said.

Earlier Sunday supporters in other Russian cities also endorsed his candidacy, including more than 800 people in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don, more than 900 in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg and over 700 in Novosibirsk in Siberia, his campaign said.

Electoral officials have deemed Navalny ineligible to run due to a criminal conviction, saying “only a miracle” would help him get registered.

Navalny, who has tapped into the anger of a younger generation who grew up under Putin and yearn for change, hopes that popular support for his Kremlin bid would pressure authorities into putting his name on the ballot.

An independent candidate needs at least 500 votes to get registered with election authorities, according to legislation.

Navalny has said he would get at least 500 Russians in each of the 20 cities to support his candidacy to make it harder for the authorities to reject his bid.

Putin, 65, announced this month that he will seek a fourth presidential term, which would extend his rule until 2024 and make him the longest-serving Russian leader since dictator Joseph Stalin.

Opposed by token opposition candidates, he is widely expected to sail to victory.

On Sunday, Navalny reiterated his threat to call for a boycott of the polls if he did not get registered.

EA

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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