MOSCOW, January 16. /TASS/. Over one mln voter signatures in support of Vladimir Ptuin, who plans to seek his new presidential term, has already been collected, a source in Putin’s campaign team told reporters on Tuesday.
"As of January 16, as many as 1,001,459 signatures of those supporting Vladimir Putin’s intention to stand in the election have been collected," the source said.
The source also stressed that although an independent candidate must collect 300,000 voter signatures in order to be registered as a presidential candidate by the Central Election Commission (CEC), "the campaign team has decided to continue gathering signatures to provide all those willing with an opportunity to express their support." "The campaign team will keep the signatures that will not be submitted to the CEC, forming the candidate’s support group," the source noted.
The Russian presidential election is scheduled to be held on March 18.
Incumbent President Vladimir Putin plans to seek a new term as an independent candidate. According to the law, he needs to collect at least 300,000 voter signatures to be registered by the CEC. The collection process kicked off on January 5, it is being conducted in 267 populated localities in all the 85 Russian regions.
CEC Spokesperson Maya Grishina told TASS that independent candidates must submit no less than 300,000 voter signatures but no more than 315,000. The CEC will check 60,000 signatures provided by every contender.
However, sources in Putin’s campaign team have many times said that the collection of signatures will continue. Campaign team’s spokesman Andrei Kondrashov said that "the process goes on because we cannot but give Russians a chance to express their attitude to Putin.".