Opposition leader Alexei Navalny has officially been nominated by supporters to run as a candidate in Russia’s presidential elections next year, leaving it up to the authorities to decide whether to allow the anti-Kremlin activist to challenge President Vladimir Putin.
Although Navalny has campaigned across 84 Russian cities this year as part of his presidential bid, election authorities have said that he is barred from running due to a fraud charge that his supporters say is politically motivated.
“No one can dispute the fact that we have the right to take part in these elections,” Navalny told reporters after submitting his papers on Sunday, as seen in a video published on his YouTube page.
The opposition leader threatened to mobilize a boycott of the elections if Russia’s Central Election Commission did not accept his nomination. Navalny tweeted that the commission was scheduled to issue a decision later on Monday.
Earlier on Sunday, an action group of more than 700 people nominated Navalny for the presidency in northwestern Moscow. Supporters in 20 cities across Russia also held nomination rallies.
Speaking to his supporters in Moscow’s Serebryany Bor riverbank, Navalny called Putin a bad president who lacked a positive program.
“We are challenging you in these elections and we intend to win,” he was cited as saying by the Vedomosti business daily.