Navalny Will Be Able to Run for Office Only in 15 Years

A bill submitted to the State Duma on Thursday will only allow opposition leader Alexei Navalny to run in elections in 15 years unless his 5-year probation term is cut, United Russia Deputy Dmitry Vyatkin told the Dozhd television channel.

The bill seeks to amend current law in order to comply with a recent Constitutional Court ruling that the existing lifetime ban for former convicts to run in elections is unconstitutional.

The legislation would prohibit those convicted of grave crimes from running in elections for 10 years after their prison or probation term expires, while the ban for people convicted of the most serious crimes would be valid for 15 years after the expiry of their term. The bill was submitted by Vladimir Pligin of United Russia, head of the State Duma's legal affairs committee, Itar-Tass reported.

The ban is seen by some analysts as an attempt by the Kremlin to bar opposition politicians, including Navalny, from elections.

The opposition leader's five-year prison term on charges  of embezzling $500,000 worth of timber from a state-owned company was commuted to a suspended sentence by the Kirov Region Court earlier this month, softening the punishment in what some observers believe to be a politically-motivated case.

In September Navalny emerged as the runner-up in the Moscow mayoral election, garnering 27 percent of the vote.

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