Russian opposition leader appeals ban on election run against Putin

artolympic/iStock/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) — Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has submitted another appeal to the nation’s courts after he was banned from running against President Vladimir Putin, according to Russian media reports.

On Wednesday, Navalny submitted an appeal to appellate body of the Russian Supreme Court after his previous challenge to the ruling by the country’s electoral commission, which banned him from running in this year’s presidential election, was denied.

“We do not want to wait another six years,” Navalny wrote on his website, in Russian. “We want competitive elections right now.”

Russia’s Central Elections Commission blocked Navalny from running last month by preventing a group of his supporters from nominating him, on the grounds that Navalny had been convicted of fraud.

“An appeal contesting the decision has been lodged with the appeals panel of the Russian Supreme Court,” Navalny’s lawyer Ivan Zhdanov told Russian news agency Interfax. “The practice of hearings into cases of this category shows that a session on our complaint could be held even before the [New Year] holidays are over [early next week].”

The Supreme Court ruled on Dec. 30 to deny Navalny’s first appeal of the electoral commission’s decision.

Navalny has called for a boycott of the March 18 vote and his supporters have said that all charges against him are politically motivated.

An anti-corruption campaigner, Navalny is the most serious challenger to Putin, who is running for re-election.

Navalny has said he is ready to go to the European Court of Human Rights, if the Russian Supreme Court’s ruling was not overturned.

Navalny added that “on January 28, we will hold an all-Russian action in support of the voters’ strike.”

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