Alexey Navalny, a Russian Opposition politician and a staunch critic of President Vladimir Putin, on Sunday said that he had received enough nominations to contest in the presidential elections in March, BBC reported.
The 41-year-old on Sunday won the initial support of 742 people at a gathering in a district of Moscow. It was way above the minimum 500 required to initiate a presidential bid, Reuters reported. Similar meets were reportedly held in 20 cities across the country.
“There is no large-scale support for Putin and his rule in this country,” Navalny told the crowd in Moscow. He described himself as a “real candidate” and said his supporters would boycott the elections if he is stopped from running.
Navalny, who now needs to be officially registered as a candidate, may end up not contesting the polls as election officials have ruled him ineligible because of a conviction in a corruption case. The opposition leader, who received a suspended prison sentence in that case, claims that the conviction was politically motivated.
The Russian Federation Council on December 15 approved a proposal to conduct the next presidential election on March 18, 2018. President Vladimir Putin had earlier announced his decision to contest the election for a fourth term.