Alexei Navalny, who challenged Russian President Vladimir Putin’s leadership, has been banned from running in the country’s upcoming presidential election. Navalny’s supporters claim that the decision constitutes as political persecution.

One of Navalny's arrests

One of Navalny’s arrests Photo Credit: Reuters/Israel News Company

The Russian government’s election commission officially disqualified prominent opposition leader Alexei Navalny today (Monday) from participating in the country’s upcoming presidential election. According to reports in Russia, the Russian Central Election Commission voted on the decision, claiming that the candidate who describes himself as a fighter against Moscow’s government corruption “isn’t eligible to run in the election.”  

41-year-old Navalny, who has been arrested three times this year and organized the protests against Russian President Vladimir Putin and the government corruption, was also arrested for organizing an illegal protest. In response to the commission’s decision, Navalny stated that he will now lead a protest to boycott the election.

The commission’s decision stated that Navalny cannot run in the election due to the fact that he has previously been convicted of fraud. Navalny’s supporters assert that this is political persecution, but the commission claims that if the court overturns his conviction, he may run once again. 12 out of 13 commission members supported the decision to ban Navalny, while one member was absent – probably due to a conflict of interest.