A Communist candidate gets approval to run in the Russian presidential election

MOSCOW: Russia’s national elections commission on Tuesday registered the Communist Party’s candidate to compete with president Vladimir Putin in the March election that Putin is all but certain to win. Nikolai Kharitonov joins two other candidates who were approved for the ballot last week. Kharitonov, a member of the lower house of parliament, has opposed some of Putin’s domestic policies but not Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.
Although the Communist candidate typically gets the second-highest vote tally, Kharitonov does not present a significant challenge to Putin. As the party’s candidate in the 2004 election, he tallied just 13.8%.
Putin has dominated Russian politics since he was first elected to the presidency in 2000.
The commission last week approved Leonid Slutsky of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party and Vladislav Davankov of the New People Party for the March 15-17 vote.
Both of their parties are largely supportive in parliament of legislation backed by Putin’s power-base United Russia party.
A Russian politician calling for peace in Ukraine was rejected last month from the presidential ballot.
The elections commission refused to accept Yekaterina Duntsova’s initial nomination by a group of supporters, citing errors in the paperwork, including spelling. The Supreme Court then rejected Duntsova’s appeal against the commission’s decision.
Putin is running as an independent, and his campaign headquarters, together with branches of the ruling United Russia party and a political coalition called the People’s Front, have collected signatures in support of his candidacy. Under Russian law, independent candidates must be nominated by at least 500 supporters, and must also gather at least 300,000 signatures from 40 regions or more.
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