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Russia adopts draft legislation that will expand political candidacy restrictions

Russian lawmakers have adopted the third and final reading of legislation that will expand prohibitions on ex-convicts’ rights to run for elected office. The bill won the support of 250 deputies and was opposed by 81 members of parliament.

The draft law would restrict the candidacy of persons convicted of one of 50 different offenses, including crimes that are often enforced against political dissidents, such as inciting extremism or terrorism, using violence against members of law enforcement, fraud, and repeatedly attending unpermitted demonstrations. 

Once the Federation Council and President Putin sign the legislation, anyone convicted of these crimes would be ineligible for elected office for a period of five years after serving out their sentences.

Existing law in Russia already bans certain ex-felons from running for elected office for periods of 10 and 15 years (beginning after they serve out their sentences), depending on the severity of the crime. For example, opposition politician Alexey Navalny was barred from running for president in 2018 because of a five-year probation sentence in February 2017. He won’t be eligible for political candidacy until 2032 — ten years after serving out this sentence.

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