Jailed oppositionist calls on central election commissioner to postpone Moscow's City Duma vote
Ilya Yashin, one of the most prominent opposition candidates whom Moscow election officials refused to register for September’s City Duma race, has published an open letter on Facebook calling on Central Election Commissioner Ella Pamfilova to cancel the September 8 elections and reschedule them for later in the fall. Yashin says Pamfilova should act “in the name of the Constitution and in the interests of the people.”
In response, Central Election Commission Secretary Maiya Grishina told reporters that canceling the elections is impossible. “You don’t move Voting Day just like that,” she told RIA Novosti.
Yashin is currently serving a jail sentence for organizing an unpermitted protest on July 14 outside the Moscow Election Commission building. On August 9, the city’s election officials rejected his challenge against an earlier decision to deny him a spot on next month’s ballot.
Moscow election officials refused to register 57 City Duma candidates, and not one of these people has managed to overturn these rejections through appeals to the City Election Commission or the courts.
Since mid-July, the city has witnessed large protests in support of the independent City Duma candidates. On August 10, as many as 60,000 people attended a permitted rally at Sakharov Prospekt. According to independent observers, it was the largest protest in more than seven years.