More parties have been banned from regional elections in Russia this year than in 2012, despite the Kremlin’s attempted liberalization of political legislation, a new study shows.
In total, 9.2 percent of the candidate lists submitted by parties for the September 8 elections have been banned, compared with 2.4 percent last year, according to a report by the Civil Initiatives Committee think tank, founded by longtime Kremlin insider-turned-critic Aleksey Kudrin, a former finance minister.
As the report says, some of the bans were politically motivated, especially those targeting the liberal “Republican Party of Russia – Parnas,” which has allied with leading anti-Kremlin basher Alexei Navalny for the upcoming mayoral election in Moscow, and billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov’s Civil Platform.
Most party lists were refused on paperwork technicalities, the report said. Examples included documents issued in maiden names of female candidates and even a “faulty” passport photo.
“We’re dealing with a de-facto rollback to practices of 2004-2011, when bans of party lists were ubiquitous,” the report said.
The head of the Central Election Commission, Vladimir Churov, denounced the report and its authors on Wednesday. “I am deeply convinced that if you had such experts … during your tenure at the Finance Ministry, … the ministry and the Russian government would have gone bankrupt," Churov said at his commission’s session, addressing Kudrin in absentia.
Author: Julia Alieva