Russian election chief defends bar on Moscow candidates

By The Associated Press

MOSCOW — The head of Russia’s election commission is standing by a decision to keep a dozen opposition candidates from running for the city legislature in Moscow but concedes the qualification rules are outdated.

The disqualification of the City Duma candidates led to weeks of protests by Muscovites outraged over what they saw as an attempt to prevent President Vladimir Putin’s opponents from gaining even lowly positions of power.

Ella Pamfilova, who heads the Central Election Commission, told The Associated Press this week there was nothing she could do to stop what blew over into a major political crisis.

The candidates excluded from the Sept. 8 election said they had presented the required number of signatures, but first Moscow election authorities and then Pamfilova’s commission invalidated enough to prevent their participation.

The Associated Press

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