Russian bill would bar Navalny allies from seeking office

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian lawmakers have given preliminary approval to a bill that bars members of groups designated as extremist from running for public office. The measure is intended to prevent allies of imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny from seeking parliament seats. The Kremlin-controlled State Duma quickly endorsed the bill in a crucial second reading Tuesday. After three readings, the bill would need to be approved by the upper house and signed by President Vladimir Putin to become law. 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 action as a move to stifle critical voices ahead of September’s parliamentary election.