MOSCOW, January 19 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) has been checking signature lists of three contenders for presidential race since early morning, secretary of the Russian Central Election Commission Nikolai Konkin said on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Grigory Yavlinsky nominated by the Yabloko party and two self-nominees, billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov and Irkutsk region governor Dmitry Mezentsev, submitted not less than two million voters’ signatures each in support of their presidential bids.
“The Central Election Commission was through with document acceptance procedures by five in the morning,” Konkin said. It took that long only to count the lists, he added.
“Practically all of them had some drawbacks,” he noted. In his words, the number of signatures of each of the three nominees has somewhat reduced but still is enough to give the right to be registered as presidential candidates.
Konkin also said that a team of 60, including representatives from the Central Election Commission and election commissions of other levels, experts in handwriting, officials from the Ministry of Justice, the Interior Ministry, the Federal Security Service, and Prosecutor General’s Office, will work in two shifts to verify these signatures. The procedure will be broadcasted live via the Internet site of the Central Election Commission, he said.
Subject to checking is a random sample of 20 percent of signatures, or about 1,200,000 signatures in all. Under the law, the Central Election Commission has ten days to do that, which means that the names of registered candidates for Russian president will be announced by January 29. There will be not more than seven of them.
By now, there are four officially registered candidates for president, who were nominated by the four parliamentary parties, which under the law do not have to collect signatures. Presidential candidates include Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of the ruling United Russia party, the leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of a Just Russia party Sergei Mironov, and the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
The CEC secretary also said that on Friday the Central Election Commission will pass a resolution refusing registration to three more self-nominees, namely Viktor Cherepkov, an ex-mayor of Vladivostok, Rinat Khamiyev, a public figure in Orenburg, who dropped out of the race, and Sevtlana Peunova of the Samara-based unregistered Volya (Will) Party, who submitted slightly more than 200,000 signatures, or by far not enough to be registered.
Presidential elections in Russia are due on March 4, 2012.