President Vladimir Putin has dropped the chief of the body overseeing Russia’s elections ahead of parliamentary polls in September.
Putin named his human rights commissioner, Ella Pamfilova, on March 3 among five presidential nominees to the 15-member Central Election Commission and left the body’s current chairman, Vladimir Churov, off his list.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the president has “appointed his candidates” and changes to the commission are a “routine rotation.”
He also said Putin's candidates represented "quite a wide" range of political opinions.
Churov, a staunch ally of Putin, has headed the election commission since 2007 and his tenure expires on March 27.
He has been accused by critics of manipulating elections.
Pamfilova, who was appointed ombudsman in 2014, is a respected rights activist who advocates dialogue between the state and civic groups.