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Presidential contenders agree to lock horns in person in TV and radio debates

March 05, 17:31 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Earlier on Monday, the Election Commission chief met with the candidates to discuss the format of the election debates on radio and television, which some hopefuls criticized

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Russian presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak

Russian presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak

© Artyom Geodakyan/TASS

MOSCOW, March 5. /TASS/. Practically all candidates running for the Russian presidency have agreed to personally show up for the presidential election debates on nationwide television and radio, without sending proxies in their place, Russian Election Commission Chairperson Ella Pamfilova told reporters on Monday.

Earlier on Monday, she met with the candidates or their representatives to discuss the format of the election debates on radio and television, which some hopefuls criticized.

"Nearly everyone, except for the CPRF representatives, have agreed that it is necessary to stop dodging the law for the remaining two weeks, and that the candidates must personally participate in the debates on federal channels. If a candidate fails to appear, then the time allotted to him will be shared by those who have come," Pamfilova said after the session.

She said the majority had approved the decision. "Today, we will send a letter with our recommendations to all federal channels where the debates are going to be broadcasted to ensure that this guideline is strictly abided by. We will be monitoring it," the chairperson vowed.

Pamfilova reiterated that under the law, proxies could represent the candidates only if they are ill or need to perform official duties. If a candidate is indeed ill, he or she must provide a doctor’s note to the channel to be substituted by a proxy.

"I believe the majority sees eye to eye with me here, otherwise it would be disrespectful to the other contenders and the electorate," she noted.

Race for the nation’s highest office

The Russian presidential election will be held on March 18, 2018.

Eight contenders are presently running for Russia’s presidency. Among them incumbent Russian President Vladimir Putin, who will participate as an independent candidate, LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, and businessman Pavel Grudinin nominated by the CPRF. Other candidates include Yabloko party co-founder Grigory Yavlinsky, leader of the Party of Growth business ombudsman Boris Titov, head of the Russian People’s Union party and former Deputy Speaker of the State Duma Sergey Baburin, TV host Ksenia Sobchak (nominated by Civil Initiative) and head of the Communists of Russia Maxim Suraikin.

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