Rejected Moscow candidates likely to lose another round

Lyubov Sobol

Russian opposition activist Lyubov Sobol, left, arrives to attend a meeting with election officials considering her appeal against exclusion from September’s election at the Russian Central Election commission in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019. The authorities’ decision to exclude opposition candidates from the race has triggered a wave of protests in the Russian capital. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

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MOSCOW (AP) — A working panel of Russia’s Central Elections Commission is recommending refusing the appeals of five opposition politicians who were denied spots on the ballot for the Moscow city council election, an issue that has sparked protests and mass arrests in the Russian capital.

The recommendation indicates it’s almost certain that the full commission will reject the appeals when it meets Wednesday.

The Moscow elections commission last month refused to register 19 candidates, including several well-known opposition figures, because of alleged signature irregularities on their nominating petitions.

Unsanctioned protests denouncing the decision took place in Moscow on July 27 and Aug. 3, both of which were harshly dispersed by police, who beat some demonstrators. More than 1,400 protesters were detained in the first demonstration and 1,001 in the one last Saturday, according to an arrests-monitoring group.

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