Convicted opposition leader Navalny drops Moscow mayor bid
MOSCOW, July 18 (RIA Novosti) – Alexei Navalny, the opposition leader and anti-corruption campaigning blogger who was handed a five-year-jail term on Thursday, is to withdraw his candidacy for the upcoming election for Moscow mayor, his campaign office said.
Navalny's campaign office will proceed with canceling his registration for the early Moscow mayoral vote, scheduled for September 8, in line with a plan previously agreed with Navalny himself, his campaign manager Leonid Volkov said soon after the conviction was announced on Thursday.
“The election campaign team’s position has been agreed with the candidate: it is not an election, there is no point in taking part,” Volkov tweeted on Thursday.
Navalny, a 37-year-old opposition activist and trained lawyer, was officially registered as a candidate for Moscow mayor Wednesday, just a day before a Kirov court found him guilty on embezzlement charges.
The conviction will come into force if his appeals are rejected by a higher court, and until then his candicacy for the election remains valid, a spokesperson for the city’s elections committee told RIA Novosti.
“Custody has not changed his status. The status might change only after the verdict is enacted,” the spokesperson said.
The defense has ten days to appeal the verdict. The conviction, if not overturned by an appeal, would bar him from running for any public office in future. Ahead of his trial, Navalny announced his ambition to take part in future presidential elections.