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MOSCOW, December 14 (Itar-Tass) — The Central Election Commission (CEC) has begun the registration of presidential candidates.
"The presidential candidates, who have already completed the nomination procedure at the CEC, can submit documents for registration starting today, December 14. The deadline is January 18, 2012," a CEC official told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.
The CEC has ten days to decide on a candidate’s registration or deny it and substantiate its refusal.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, leader of the ruling United Russia Party, was the first to request registration. He submitted his documents in person on December 7 and has completed preliminary procedure by now.
The registration of his authorized representatives took place on Sunday, December 11. The CEC then permitted the opening of Putin’s election account on the same day. Putin now may begin registration. "A candidate's personal presence is not necessary at this stage," CEC member Nina Kulyasova explained.
A Just Russia leader Sergei Mironov, nominated for president at his Party's Congress on December 10, is still at preliminary stage. On Tuesday, December 13, he submitted his nomination documents, and the CEC is to decide on the registration of his authorized representatives and election account. After the opening of the election account and the drawing of the first financial statement, Mironov may begin the registration procedure.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the irreplaceable leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, is to make similar moves shortly. Zhirinovsky was nominated for president by the LDPR Congress on Tuesday.
The Communist Party (KPRF) and Yabloko Party will convene on December 17 and December 18, respectively, to nominate their candidates.
Gennady Zyuganov is expected to become the KPRF's hopeful; as for Yabloko, the Party is uncertain about its participation in the presidential race. If it does nominate a candidate, it has to collect two million signatures in his support, which is a much harder job compared with canvassing for a mere 150,000 signatures for the parliamentary election campaign.
Nomination of candidates by political parties ends on December 20. The period for self-nominees is shorter by five days. So far, the announcement about running for president by billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov has been the largest eye-catching initiative. An action group is expected to meet on December 15 to nominate him.
The CEC has no information about the number of contenders. Preliminary estimates put their number at over 20. Last week, CEC chief Vladimir Churov reported 12 initiatives, not just in the Russian capital, but also in Russian regions. Among the likely self-nominees were non-system Opposition leader Eduard Limonov and former Vladivostok mayor Viktor Cherepkov. On December 12, documents were submitted to the CEC by Nikolai Levashov, a laureate of numerous diplomas for "untraditional methods of cure." He has written such books as "The Last Address to Mankind," "Essence and Mind," "Heterogeneous Universe," and "the Mirror of My Soul" autobiography.
For registration, all the self nominees have to collect and present to the CEC two million signatures by 18:00, Moscow time, on January 18, 2012. They have more than a month before the deadline; practice shows that it is a painstaking and expensive effort. The final number of the presidential hopefuls will be known by January 28, 2012. Officially, the Russian presidential race began on November 25. The presidential polls are due on March 4, 2012.