Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny claims to have won enough nominations to challenge Vladmir Putin's re-election bid.
Navalny, a veteran campaigner against corruption among Russia's elite, said that his supporters met in 20 cities across the country to secure signatures of 742 people, above the minimum 500 required to initiate a presidential bid.
However, Navalny is unlikely to fight the elections as the election commission had previously disqualified him for corruption conviction.
Regardless, he is widely considered as the only candidate with a chance of challenging the president, who is seeking a fourth term that would see him become the longest-serving Russian leader since Joseph Stalin.
The Opposition leader Navalny was recently in news for his 20-day long stint in jail for repeatedly organising anti-government protests.
A total of 23 candidates have declared their intention to run for President, including Vladimir Putin, CEC chairperson Ella Pamfilova said.
To be registered as an independent Presidential nominee in Russia, a candidate has to collect at least 300,000 voters' signatures by February 1, 2018. The Presidential election will take place on March 18.