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Updated December 23rd, 2023 at 20:10 IST

Russian authorities bar opposition leader Yekaterina Duntsova from running against Putin

Former Russian TV journalist and independent presidential candidate Yekaterina Duntsova was barred from contesting elections against Putin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Former Russian Journalist  Yekaterina Duntsova
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Former Russian Journalist Yekaterina Duntsova | Image:AP
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Former Russian TV journalist and independent presidential candidate Yekaterina Duntsova was barred from contesting elections against Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday. During a meeting on Saturday, the Central Election Commission (CEC) rejected the papers filed by the anti-war journalist stating that it was filled with over 100 typos and other errors, The Moscow Times reported. The 40-year-old Russian politician announced her bid for the office of the President in November. Earlier this week, Duntsova managed to secure the endorsement of an initiative group of more than 500 supporters and filed her papers. 

“We have carefully studied the documents, and we have the impression that they were filled out in haste without complying with legal standards,” the CEC member Yevgeny Shevchenko said during the meeting, The Moscow Times reported. After the members rejected her candidature, The head of the commission, Ella Pamfilova, reportedly showed sympathy to Duntsova. “You are a young woman, you have everything ahead of you. Any minus can always be turned into a plus. Any experience is still an experience,” Pamfilova said during the meeting. The rejection came three days after the anti-war activist presented her document to the electoral watchdog.  

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Dubtsova pledges to challenge the decision

Following the meeting, Duntsova vowed to challenge the commission's judgement at a Russian court. She insisted Russia's liberal Yabloko party nominate her as the candidate. “I want us all to believe that we will be able to take another chance. Don’t lose faith, don’t lose hope,” she said. Duntsova who is currently serving as a regional legislator has called for peace in Ukraine multiple times. Her campaign planks on the idea of a “humane Russia” that is willing to cooperate. Duntsova insisted that she takes pride in the fact that she took the first step to challenge the incumbent leader, however, she insisted that collecting signatures from across the country would be a hard task. 

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“I feel a sense of accomplishment. We’ve done everything that we needed to do. We’ve made this step, and I think it should inspire people who support us," Duntsova averred. “I hope that I’ll at least be registered as a candidate. But, of course, collecting signatures is a huge job and I hope that people will be actively taking part,” the candidate added. According to the Independent, the Russian presidential election will take place over the three-day period between 15 and 17 March. If Putin wins the election, he will serve his fifth term in office. While the fate of Duntsova remains unclear, Putin's most high-profile critic and opponent, Alexei Navalny, is currently missing after a prison transfer and has been banned from participating in the upcoming elections.

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Published December 23rd, 2023 at 20:09 IST

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