MOSCOW, December 14. /TASS/. Russia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) has drawn a conclusion that between 12 and 15 people could be named as potential candidates for the 2018 presidential election, CEC Secretary Maya Grishina said in a televised interview with the Rossiya’24 channel on Thursday.
"Activity is rather high and there are more or less famous people. Along with this, one should understand that we have over 60 political parties and each has the right to nominate a candidate," she said. "According to our estimates, there are about 12-15 potential candidates. But I think it is a start. When people hear that the presidential race has begun, more initiatives will appear."
The CEC eyes potential candidates’ intentions in media reports, since the Election Commission has not started to register candidates for the presidential race officially.
Among potential candidates for the presidential race (who have announced their intentions), are current President Vladimir Putin, LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Yabloko party leader Grigory Yavlinsky, leader of the Communists of Russia party Maksim Suraikin, Presidential Ombudsman for Entrepreneurs’ Rights and Party of Growth leader Boris Titov, political scientist and Social Technology Center head Andrei Bogdanov, socialite Ksenia Sobchak, Women’s Dialogue party leader Yelena Semerikova, businessman Sergei Polonsky, singer and human rights activist Yekaterina Gordon and some dignitaries.
Leaders of the two other Russian parliamentary parties - CPRF and A Just Russia - keep silent about their participation in the election. Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov said earlier that the party’s leader needs to be always ready to compete in elections, but the congress would decide.
A source with the A Just Russia party told TASS that the party would probably refrain from nominating an own candidate and will support Putin.
The Russian Justice Ministry uploaded on its website on Thursday a list of 67 political parties that at the moment have the right to take part in the presidential election.
To participate in elections, a party must have registered branches in at least half of the Russian regions.
Under the law On Presidential Election in Russia, the Justice Ministry makes up the list of the parties having the right to participate in the election for the head of state, including nominating their candidates, as of the day when the decision to call the elections is officially published.
No later than three days after it is published, the Justice Ministry must publish this list of parties in Russia’s state printed media, post it on the official website, as well as send the list to the Central Election Commission.
On December 15, the Federation Council upper house of the Russian parliament must fix the presidential election for March 18. The resolution on calling the elections must be published within five days after that, which will officially launch the election campaign, and parties will be able to meet for congresses to nominate their candidates. Self-nominated candidates also have the right to take part in the elections.
The presidential election in Russia will take place on March 18, 2018. The election campaign will officially start after the Federation Council (upper house of parliament) calls the election. Until then, it is impossible to nominate candidates.
However, Russian Liberal-Democratic Party (LDPR) leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Yabloko party leader Grigory Yavlinsky, Communists of Russia leader Maxim Suraikin, TV host Ksenia Sobchak, singer and human rights activist Yekaterina Gordon have already announced their plans to run for president, as well as blogger Alexei Navalny, though head of the Central Election Commission Ella Pamfilova has clarified it many times that he is not eligible to be registered as a presidential candidate because of his criminal record.
According to the Russian presidential election law, both parliamentary and non-parliamentary parties are eligible to nominate candidates, but each non-parliamentary party needs to collect at least 100,000 voters’ signatures in support of its candidate. Besides, a Russian citizen has the right to register as an independent presidential candidate provided he or she collects at least 300,000 signatures.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said at his annual news conference on Thursday he will run in the 2018 presidential election as an independent candidate, but expects to have support of forces sharing his views on the country’s development.