Russia: Putin-critic Alexei Navalny nominated to contest in 2018 elections
Prominent Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny may contest against President Vladimir Putin in the country's presidential elections scheduled for March 2018. Navalny claims that he has secured the required number of nominations to qualify as a presidential candidate. However, election officials may disqualify him based on an earlier corruption conviction. Navalny has been arrested three times this year alone for organizing anti-Putin protests.
What are Navalny's chances against Putin?
Navalny is widely considered as the only person who has a legitimate chance at defeating Putin. Alternatively, if he doesn't Putin would go on to serve his fourth term as president, to become the longest-serving Russian leader since Stalin.
What does Navalny say about Putin?
Addressing a gathering of supporters in Moscow, Navalny branded Putin a "bad president." He accused Putin of turning the country into a source of personal enrichment. Putin had taken "from poor people oil, gas and metal worth trillions of dollars, sold it abroad, rewarded those people by turning them from poor to destitute during 18 years in power", he added.
Will Navalny be allowed to contest in elections?
Navalny has secured the required number of signatures to qualify as a presidential candidate. However, Ella Pamfilova, head of Russia's election commission had said that Navalny's corruption conviction disqualifies him from contesting. Navalny had earlier alleged that his conviction was politically-motivated. If he's not allowed to run he might protest, organize mass-strikes and fuel discontent against Putin.