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Election chief kicks off 2018 presidential election campaign

December 18, 2017, 18:05 UTC+3 MOSCOW

At present, 23 people have stated their intention to run for the Russian presidency

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Ella Pamfilova

Ella Pamfilova

© Mikhail Tereschenko/TASS

MOSCOW, December 18. /TASS/. Chairperson of the Russian Central Election Commission (CEC) Ella Pamfilova has launched a countdown to the Russian presidential election at Monday’s commission meeting.

On December 15, the Federation Council ordered to call the Russian presidential election on March 18, 2018. This order was published on December 18. According to Russian legislation, an election campaign officially starts after the publication of the decision to call the election, and from here on, all terms of election actions are on the countdown.

"The entire election commissions’ system, along with the CEC itself, is ready to carry out the election campaign properly," Pamfilova pledged.

The countdown to Election Day started on the large screen of the CEC assembly hall.

Who’s running in the presidential race?

At present, according to the Central Election Commission, 23 people have stated their intention to run for the Russian presidency.

Incumbent Russian President Vladimir Putin will be running for his fourth term as an independent candidate. Putin was elected to his current term in 2012 from the United Russia party, which has already stated that it would support Putin in every way and will help gather the necessary 300,000 voter signatures.

Among potential candidates for the presidential race (who have announced their intentions) are veteran politicians such as Yabloko party founder Grigory Yavlinsky and LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Others throwing their hat into the ring are business ombudsman and Party of Growth leader Boris Titov, political scientist and Social Technology Center head Andrey Bogdanov, TV host Ksenia Sobchak (from the Civil Initiative party), Women’s Dialogue party leader Yelena Semerikova, businessman Sergey Polonsky, singer and human rights activist Yekaterina Gordon and some dignitaries.

Leaders of the two other Russian parliamentary parties - the CPRF and A Just Russia - have remained mum on their participation in the election. Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov said earlier that the party’s leader needs to always be ready to compete in elections, but the congress would decide. Anyway, according to Zyuganov, the CPRF will go to the presidential election as a big team of "national patriotic forces."

A Just Russia leader Sergey Mironov recently told reporters that the party sees Vladimir Putin’s nomination positively. That said, a source with the A Just Russia party told TASS that the party would probably refrain from nominating its own candidate and will support Putin.

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