More than 15,000 Russians on Sunday endorsed the candidacy of Alexei Navalny to take on Vladimir Putin in the 2018 election, which allowed him to file for registration as a candidate in the race.
Thousands backing the 41-year-old lawyer met in 20 cities from the Pacific port of Vladivostok to Saint Petersburg in the northwest to nominate him as a candidate in the presence of electoral officials to boost his chances of contesting the March ballot.
Mr Navalny submitted the necessary documents to the Central Election Commission (CEC) that same day.
“Representatives of CEC confirmed to us that they will accept our papers… and extended their working hours,” he said on Twitter earlier that day, right after the endorsement meeting in Moscow.
It remains unclear, however, whether the politician will be allowed to run – CEC chair Ella Pamfilova said earlier this year that Mr Navalny’s criminal conviction in an embezzlement case precluded him from running and registering as a candidate.