Russia's National Election Commission has announced that two candidates will run against Vladimir Putin in next March's presidential elections.  

According to euronews, the commission announced that Leonid Slutsky of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party and Vladislav Davankov of the New People's Party have been approved as candidates for the March 15-17 elections.

Neither candidate is seen as a serious challenger to Putin, who has been president since 2000 and is widely expected to win this election. 

Both Slutsky and Davankov's parliamentary parties largely support the laws passed by Putin's ruling United Russia party.

As chairman of the lower house of parliament's foreign affairs committee, Slutsky is known as a leading supporter of the Kremlin's foreign policy. In the last presidential election in 2018, his party's candidate won only 6 percent of the vote. 

Davankov is deputy speaker of the Duma, the lower house of parliament. His party was founded in 2020 and has 15 seats in the 450-member chamber.

Nikolai Kharitonov, a Communist Party candidate who ran against Putin in 2004 and came second in the elections, was rejected by the Commission this year.

Yekaterina Duntsova, a female politician calling for peace in Ukraine, was also rejected by the Commission. Her candidacy was rejected by the Commission due to a number of problems, including clerical errors in her documents, and Duntsova's appeal to the Supreme Court was also rejected. 

Like Duntsova, President Vladimir Putin is among the candidates running as an independent. Under Russian law, independent candidates must be nominated by at least 500 supporters and must also collect at least 300,000 signatures from 40 or more regions.