December 30, 2017 / 11:41 AM / 8 months ago

Russian court upholds ban on Navalny running against Putin in 2018

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s Supreme Court on Saturday dismissed an appeal by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny against a decision by the country’s central election commission to bar him from taking part in next year’s presidential election.

Judge Nikolai Romanenkov (L) of the Supreme Court attends a hearing on an appeal by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny against a decision to bar him from taking part in the 2018 presidential election in Moscow, Russia December 30, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

The commission this week barred Navalny from taking part in the March 18 vote because of a suspended prison sentence he says was trumped up.

Judge Nikolai Romanenkov of the Supreme Court attends a hearing on an appeal by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny against a decision to bar him from taking part in the 2018 presidential election in Moscow, Russia December 30, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Navalny, who did not attend the Supreme Court hearing, wrote on Twitter that he and his supporters “will not recognize elections without competition” and renewed calls for a boycott of the vote.

Polls indicate that President Vladimir Putin, who has dominated Russia’s political landscape for 18 years, is on course to be comfortably re-elected, but Navalny says his own exclusion from the vote makes a farce of the ballot.

Navalny, who has organized some of the biggest anti-government demonstrations in years, has been jailed three times this year and charged with breaking the law for organizing public meetings and rallies.

Reporting by Gennady Novik and Valery Stepchenkov; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Alison Williams

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