Putin regime blocks anti-war presidential election opponent from ballot

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government has disqualified an anti-war opponent in the upcoming presidential election, citing signature irregularities.The Russian Central Election Commission announced Thursday that Civic Initiative Party candidate Boris Nadezhdin has been disqualified from running against Putin.Authorities claimed that approximately 15% of the signatures of endorsement produced by the Nadezhdin campaign were irregular or inadmissible, breaching the 5% threshold allowed.Nadezhdin previously reported 158,000 signatures in support of his campaign — 58,000 more than the 100,000 needed to qualify, according to reports from Russian outlets.ANTI-WAR RUSSIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE COLLECTS 150K SIGNATURES SUPPORTING CAMPAIGN Boris Nadezhdin, center, the Civic Initiative Party presidential hopeful, speaks to journalists following a meeting at the Central Election Commission in Moscow. (NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP via Getty Images)The anti-war candidate announced the milestone last month, stating that the large amount of extra signatures is meant to ensure against any attempts to find logistical issues with his candidacy. Regardless, the Kremlin has ruled to keep Nadezhdin off the ballot.”One thing happened which many could not believe: citizens sensed the possibility of changes in Russia,” Nadezhdin wrote in a statement following the end of his run. PUTIN ANNOUNCES PRESIDENTIAL RE-ELECTION BID, FIFTH TERM EXPECTED TO BE CERTAIN Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, meets with Russian Academy of Sciences President Gennady Krasnikov at the Kremlin in Moscow. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)He added, “It was you who stood in long lines to declare to the whole world: ‘Russia will be a great and a free country.’ And I represented each of you today in the auditorium of the Central Election Commission.”Putin submitted his nomination papers to the Central Election Commission last month for the March 17 election, which he is widely expected to win. The former intelligence officer continues to hold overwhelming political power in Russia’s government and institutions.Putin has held continuous positions as president or prime minister since 1999. He has been president since 2012, with his previous stint as president running from 2000 to 2008. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP Lawmakers attend a session at the State Duma, the Lower House of the Russian Parliament in Moscow. (The State Duma, the Lower House of the Russian Parliament via AP)Liberal Democratic Party candidate Leonid Slutsky and New People Party candidate Vladislav Davankov were approved for the March election by officials earlier this month. The March election is widely assessed as a farce outside Russia, with international watchdogs and political observers pointing to Putin’s complete control of the government and willingness to even use violence on his enemies. Timothy Nerozzi is a writer for Fox News Digital. You can follow him on Twitter @timothynerozzi and can email him at timothy.nerozzi@fox.com

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