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Finnish residence permit could scupper Russian presidential candidacy

Russian authorities have sought to disqualify a candidate from the upcoming presidential election—because it says he holds a Finnish residence permit.

Kuva tienvarren mainostaulusta, jossa kerrotaan maaliskuun presidentinvaaleista. Kuvan vasemmassa reunassa autot ajavat tiellä. On ilta ja pimeää.
Russia's presidential election is scheduled for March 2018. Image: Maxim Shipenkov / EPA

Russian authorities have sought to disqualify a candidate from the upcoming presidential election—because it says he holds a Finnish residence permit.

Russia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) has filed to disqualify Saint Petersburg businessman Alexander Chukhlebov as a candidate in the upcoming presidential election because it says he holds a Finnish residence permit.

Under Russian law that would disqualify him from running for president, but he says the Finnish authorities have already cancelled his permit.

39-year-old Chukhlebov is in the forest products industry and has proposed switching Russia’s capital from Moscow to Saint Petersburg.

Putin favourite

Incumbent president Vladimir Putin is the overwhelming favourite, and several other candidates have faced obstacles in campaigning or even registering as a candidate.

Popular opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been disqualified on grounds of a criminal conviction, although he claims the charges were trumped-up.

The CEC had registered Chukhlebov’s candidate support group, but Interfax reports that it has now asked Russia’s supreme court to rule on disqualifying him because he holds a Finnish residence permit.

Registration is a necessary condition before candidates can start collecting nomination signatures. Some 300,000 are required to get onto the ballot for the election, which is scheduled for March.

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