MOSCOW, January 15. /TASS/. More than 200,000 people have visited United Russia’s public reception offices to put their signatures in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin who is running for presidential election as a self-nominated candidate, the United Russia press service has reported, citing Secretary of the United Russia General Council Andrey Turchak.
The party decided to open a few hundred public reception offices in 85 regions following a request from activists and people collecting signatures in Putin’s support.
"Not just older people, but youth as well came to put their signatures. It was some kind of a national common signature collection day in support of Vladimir Putin," United Russia’s press service cited Turchak as saying.
Earlier, the election headquarters of the incumbent head of state stated that it had already collected more than 538,000 signatures, whereas a self-nominated candidate has to submit 300,000 signatures with the Central Election Commission (CEC). However, according to Turchak, it does not mean that signature collection should be stopped, because "people who want to cast their votes in support of their candidate cannot be rejected just because their votes are not needed any more."
"The party coordinated work of signature collectors in the public reception offices today, realizing that there are a great number of such people. And the fact that more than 200,000 citizens came to our platforms today only proves that we were right," the General Council secretary stressed, affirming that the party is ready to continue to provide all necessary support for Vladimir Putin, including within his election campaign.
Collecting signatures in Putin’s support
Incumbent Russian President Vladimir Putin nominated his candidacy for participation in the presidential election that will be held on March 18, 2018, as a self-nominated candidate. He needs to collect at least 300,000 signatures to be registered as a candidate. The collection procedure kicked off on January 5, and, according to the press secretary of the election headquarters, Andrey Kondrashov, more than 500,000 signatures were collected by the morning of January 12. Though a candidate cannot submit more than 315,000 signatures for check to the Central Election Commission, the headquarters promised that their collection would continue so that anyone wishing could express their support for Putin.
United Russia, from which Putin was nominated at the previous presidential election, repeatedly expressed its support for his participation in the campaign. The corresponding official decision was taken at the party convention in late December last year.