Court upholds ban on Navalny running for Russian presidency

Russia's highest court has upheld election officials' decision to bar opposition leader Alexei Navalny from running for president in March's election.

The Supreme Court on Saturday turned down Navalny's appeal against the Central Election Commission's move, saying that the decision to bar him from the race fully conforms to law.

President Vladimir Putin, whose approval ratings top 80 percent, is set to easily win a fourth term in the March 18 vote.

Navalny has campaigned for the presidency all year despite an implicit ban on his candidacy due to a fraud conviction seen by many as politically driven. Election officials formally barred him from the ballot Monday.

Navalny responded to the ban by calling for a boycott of the vote. The Kremlin said authorities will look into whether such a call violates the law.