Russia's Central Election Commission (CEC) voted on Monday (December 25) to deny blogger Alexei Navalny the right to run in a presidential election next year, saying he was ineligible because of a past conviction for a grave crime.
The commission said the conviction, for which Navalny received a suspended sentence and which he has repeatedly described as politically-motivated, meant he could not run for president in March.
Twelve members of the 13-member commission voted to bar Navalny. One member of the commission abstained, citing a possible conflict of interest.
Polls show President Vladimir Putin is on course to be comfortably re-elected, meaning he could remain in power until 2024.
Navalny, 41, has been jailed three times this year and charged with breaking the law by repeatedly organising public meetings and rallies.