MOSCOW (AP) - Russian election officials have formally barred Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny from running for president.
The Central Election Commission voted on Monday that the anti-corruption crusader isn't eligible to run.
Navalny is implicitly barred from running for office because of a conviction in a fraud case which has been viewed as political retribution. He could have run if he was given a special dispensation or if his conviction was cancelled.
Incumbent Vladimir Putin is running for a fourth term in office and is wildly expected to win the March 18 election.
Navalny has vowed to lead a campaign to boycott the vote if he isn't allowed on the ballot.
Navalny is the most serious challenger that Putin has faced in all of his years in power.
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