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Russia to elect president for sixth time

March 04, 2012, 2:56 UTC+3

The presidential candidates are Vladimir Putin, Gennady Zyuganov, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Sergei Mironov and Mikhail Prokhorov

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MOSCOW, March 4 (Itar-Tass) —— The presidential elections will be held in Russia on Sunday. This is already the sixth presidential elections in the modern history of the country. Meanwhile, Russian president will be elected for six years for the first time.

Five candidates are running for Russian presidency. The presidential candidates are Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who was nominated by the United Russia Party, the leaders of the parliamentary parties Gennady Zyuganov (CPRF), Vladimir Zhirinovsky (LDPR), Sergei Mironov (A Just Russia) and self-nominated businessman Mikhail Prokhorov. Their names will be put in the alphabetical order on ballot papers.

About 108,138,000 Russian citizens will be able to exercise their suffrage. About 95,000 polling stations will be opened for them from 08:00 until 20:00 local time. Some 1.8 million Russian citizens will be able to vote at the Russian presidential elections in 147 countries, where about 400 polling stations were set up.

The current presidential elections were already called unprecedented. For the first time the voting and the summing up of the election results will be done under the video monitoring. Any person can watch the elections in the Internet. A sweeping project to install the web cameras in the overwhelming majority or 91,000 polling stations was realized for the shortest period of time.

A considerable number of observers will also monitor the elections. Some 685 international observers are accredited, Chairman of the Russian Central Elections Commission (CEC) Vladimir Churov said. Meanwhile, an enormous number of observers from the candidates and political parties is expected.

About 6,000 journalists will cover the presidential elections. Some 2,000 journalists are accredited in the CEC information centre alone, 800 of them represent foreign media outlets.

The first preliminary results of the Russian presidential elections will be made public in the CEC information centre only after 21:00 Moscow time, when the last polling stations in the country will close in the Kaliningrad Region. The CEC promised to announce the preliminary results already in the morning on March 5. The preliminary results will be based on the results of 99.9 final election protocols, which will be received through the election state automatic system. The CEC will make public the final election results not later than March 14.

The Russian CEC also confirmed the full readiness to the Election Day. “We expect a high turnout, we did all for this,” Churov stated. He assessed positively the election campaign, which was launched on November 26, 2011 and lasted more than three months. “The preparations for the Russian presidential elections passed in the calm atmosphere, we did not receive any complaints over the preparations to the voting,” Churov noted.

Meanwhile, the presidential race can hardly be called calm. The presidential election campaign passed in a quite tense situation with massive protest actions, the attempts to challenge the results of the December State Duma elections, the demands to dismiss Churov, the launch for a reform of the Russian political system and the instigation of distrust to the results of the March 4 presidential elections in advance. Several parties and organizations already stated about new rallies. The rallies will be held in the evening on March 4 and March 5.

For the victory in the elections a candidate should gain more than 50% of votes. If no candidate gains this percentage of votes, a second round of the presidential elections will be held on March 25. The president elected at the current elections will be sworn in on May 7.

The post of the Russian president was introduced as a result of the national referendum on March 17, 1991. For the past period of time the presidential elections passed in two rounds only in 1996.

Over 4,000 regional and local elections, as well as 185 municipal referenda will be held simultaneously with the presidential elections in 76 constituents of the Russian Federation.

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