The Russian Supreme Court has upheld a Central Election Commission decision to bar liberal opposition politician Grigory Yavlinsky from next month's presidential election.
The commission last month ruled that too many of the signatures Yavlinsky submitted in support of his candidacy were invalid and rejected his application.
Yavlinsky's lawyers argued that the law does not forbid candidates from submitting photocopies of signature sheets and that Yavlinsky did so because he was given just one month to gather 2 million signatures from across Russia.
Yavlinsky has five days to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court Presidium.
Five men -- Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, A Just Russia candidate Sergei Mironov, Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia leader Vladimir Zhirinovksy, and billionaire businessman Mikhail Prokhorov -- are competing in the March 4 election.