MOSCOW (AP) — Russian lawmakers have given preliminary approval to a bill that bars members of groups designated as extremist from running for public office, a measure intended to prevent allies of opposition leader Alexei Navalny from seeking parliament seats. The Kremlin-controlled lower house, the State Duma, quickly endorsed the bill in a crucial second reading Tuesday. After three readings, it needs to be approved by the upper house and signed by President Vladimir Putin to become law. The bill comes as Moscow prosecutors have moved to designate Navalny’s Foundation for Fighting Corruption and his regional offices as extremist groups. Navalny and his allies have denounced the proceedings as a move to stifle critical voices ahead of September’s parliamentary election.
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