A former Russian journalist and city Councillor, Yekaterina Duntsova, who is campaigning for peace and “democratic processes”, has been disqualified from running against President Vladimir Putin by the Central Electoral Committee, citing “errors in documents”.
29 people may potentially qualify for a presidential candidate in the March poll, said the Russian Central Electoral Comission (TsIK) on Saturday.
The electoral body is gradually coming to the end of registrations for self-nominated candidates, but officially recognised political parties still have a few more days.
Yekaterina Duntsova’s application was rejected by Russia’s Central Electoral Commission on Saturday due to “errors in documents”.
The former journalist and city councillor campaigning “for peace and democratic processes”, may no longer be able to present herself as a candidate.
The commission’s chief, Ella Pamfilova, said the members unanimously rejected Duntsova’s bid to stand in the election in which Putin is expected to win comfortably.
Putin confirmed this month that he would participate in the election, scheduled to be held over three days beginning 15 March.
The commission said Duntsova could not go on to the next stage of gathering thousands of supporters’ signatures.
Pamfilova told her: “You are a young woman, you have everything ahead of you.”
Duntsova, 40, had filed documents to stand in the March race as an independent candidate. She was required to provide documents proving that a group of at least 500 people had held a meeting backing her.
“A people’s initiative is not needed, is not welcomed,” Duntsova told journalists afterwards, saying she would not have time to file another application as an independent candidate.
She wrote on social media that she would file an appeal against the ruling with the Supreme Court.
She also urged the leadership of the liberal party Yabloko to nominate her as its candidate.
Yabloko, Russia’s oldest democratic party that came to the fore as democratic opposition during the rule of Boris Yeltsin, “should not stand on the sidelines. Russians should have a choice”, she wrote on Telegram.
Duntsova told journalists on Saturday “we are now waiting for some official, public answer on whether (Yabloko) are prepared to support me so we meet the deadline” of 1 January.
Yabloko’s co-founder Grigory Yavlinsky said in a YouTube video broadcast on Saturday that the party is not nominating any candidate.
The 71-year-old was unable to comment on Duntsova’s request for nomination, saying he “had no idea” about her.
Candidates from political parties lacking MPs in the national parliament, like Yabloko, have a less arduous procedure to participate than independents.
They are expected to gather signatures of 100,000 supporters by the end of January, while independent candidates have to find 300,000.