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Russian opposition leader gets nomination for presidency

MOSCOW (AP) – Supporters of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny have endorsed him for the presidency and are set to file his nomination with election authorities.

President Vladimir Putin’s most formidable foe in all his 18 years in power, Navalny is barred from running, however, because of a criminal conviction in a case that has been viewed as politically motivated. He could run if he gets a special dispensation or if the conviction is canceled.

Some 800 Navalny supporters gathered for a formal meeting on Sunday to endorse him. The gathering’s nomination is to be submitted later in the day to election authorities, who will rule whether he can run.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny gestures while speaking during his supporters’ meeting that nominated him for the presidential election race in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017. The 41-year-old anti-corruption crusader has run a yearlong grass-roots campaign and staged waves of rallies to push the Kremlin to let him run. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Navalny’s yearlong grass-roots campaign has galvanized people in the most remote corners of Russia. Putin’s 80 percent approval ratings, however, make him a certain winner in the March vote.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny gestures while speaking during his supporters' meeting that nominated him for the presidential election race in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017. His wife Yulia is on the left. The 41-year-old anti-corruption crusader has run a yearlong grass-roots campaign and staged waves of rallies to push the Kremlin to let him run. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny gestures while speaking during his supporters’ meeting that nominated him for the presidential election race in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017. His wife Yulia is on the left. The 41-year-old anti-corruption crusader has run a yearlong grass-roots campaign and staged waves of rallies to push the Kremlin to let him run. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny greets his supporters at a meeting that nominated him for the presidential election race in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017. His wife Yulia is right of him. The 41-year-old anti-corruption crusader has run a yearlong grass-roots campaign and staged waves of rallies to push the Kremlin to let him run. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny greets his supporters at a meeting that nominated him for the presidential election race in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017. His wife Yulia is right of him. The 41-year-old anti-corruption crusader has run a yearlong grass-roots campaign and staged waves of rallies to push the Kremlin to let him run. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his wife Yulia attend his supporters' meeting that nominated him for the presidential election race in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017. Nevertheless, the 41-year-old anti-corruption crusader has run a yearlong grass-roots campaign and staged waves of rallies to push the Kremlin to let him run. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his wife Yulia attend his supporters’ meeting that nominated him for the presidential election race in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017. Nevertheless, the 41-year-old anti-corruption crusader has run a yearlong grass-roots campaign and staged waves of rallies to push the Kremlin to let him run. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Supporters of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny vote during a meeting that their candidate for the presidential election race is nominated in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017. Opposition leader Navalny is barred from the race by an embezzlement conviction he calls politically motivated. Nevertheless, the 41-year-old anti-corruption crusader has run a yearlong grass-roots campaign and staged waves of rallies to push the Kremlin to let him run. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Supporters of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny vote during a meeting that their candidate for the presidential election race is nominated in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017. Opposition leader Navalny is barred from the race by an embezzlement conviction he calls politically motivated. Nevertheless, the 41-year-old anti-corruption crusader has run a yearlong grass-roots campaign and staged waves of rallies to push the Kremlin to let him run. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Supporters of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny vote during a meeting that their candidate for the presidential election race is nominated in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017. Opposition leader Navalny is barred from the race by an embezzlement conviction he calls politically motivated. Nevertheless, the 41-year-old anti-corruption crusader has run a yearlong grass-roots campaign and staged waves of rallies to push the Kremlin to let him run. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Supporters of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny vote during a meeting that their candidate for the presidential election race is nominated in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017. Opposition leader Navalny is barred from the race by an embezzlement conviction he calls politically motivated. Nevertheless, the 41-year-old anti-corruption crusader has run a yearlong grass-roots campaign and staged waves of rallies to push the Kremlin to let him run. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Supporters of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny vote during a meeting that their candidate for the presidential election race is nominated in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017. Opposition leader Navalny is barred from the race by an embezzlement conviction he calls politically motivated. Nevertheless, the 41-year-old anti-corruption crusader has run a yearlong grass-roots campaign and staged waves of rallies to push the Kremlin to let him run. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Supporters of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny vote during a meeting that their candidate for the presidential election race is nominated in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017. Opposition leader Navalny is barred from the race by an embezzlement conviction he calls politically motivated. Nevertheless, the 41-year-old anti-corruption crusader has run a yearlong grass-roots campaign and staged waves of rallies to push the Kremlin to let him run. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

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