MOSCOW, January 19. /TASS/. Over 1.5 mln voter signatures in support of Vladimir Putin’s presidential bid have already been collected, Sergei Kogogin, the co-chair of Putin’s campaign team, told reporters on Friday.
"As of today, a total of 1,503,781 voter signatures have been collected," he said, adding that in the past two weeks [the collection of signatures started on January 5 - TASS], "we managed to gather five times as many signatures as required under the law." "It points to wide popular support. People have been actively providing their signatures, entire families came," Kogogin noted.
He also said that at the Friday meeting, the campaign team "made a decision to stop the collection of signatures" on Monday. According to Kogogin, the campaign team has received signatures collected in 76 Russian regions, 40% of those signatures have already been checked.
The co-chair of Putin’s campaign team pointed out that during the collection process, "some unacceptable incidents took place." He said that "an overzealous approach" was the reason. "We have tossed those signatures aside," he noted.
According to Kogogin, the campaign team believes that the signature collection was organized well. He particularly thanked volunteers participating in the process.
The Russian presidential election is scheduled to be held on March 18.
Incumbent President Vladimir Putin is seeking 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 Central Election Commission (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.
Sources in Putin’s campaign team have many times said that the collection of signatures continues in order to "give Russians a chance to express their attitude to Putin."