April 28, 2015 / 6:55 PM / 4 years ago

Russian Justice Ministry annuls opposition party registration

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny attends a news conference on opposition joint efforts at local elections in 2015, in Moscow April 22, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s Justice Ministry has canceled the legal registration of the Party of Progress, the ministry said on Tuesday, blocking the group’s plan to run for parliament in alliance with another anti-Kremlin party.

The Party of Progress, led by anti-graft blogger Alexei Navalny, had agreed to run on a joint platform in 2016 parliamentary elections with RPR-Parnas, co-founded by slain politician Boris Nemtsov, allying fractious Kremlin adversaries.

“Of course, this is a reaction to the creation of the democratic coalition,” Navalny said on his website.

The ministry said in a statement that the party had failed to complete a state registration of its regional branches within the required period of time.

“Party of Progress will stay as a political structure because... the party is not a paper, but people and ideas,” Navalny said.

The parties decided to form a coalition after Nemtsov’s murder in February just outside the Kremlin’s walls as he walked home with his girlfriend.

Critics of President Vladimir Putin say he bears ultimate political responsibility for the gunning down of Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister, on Feb. 27. The Kremlin denies stifling dissent and Putin has urged law enforcement bodies to investigate the case in full.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin

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