Presidential campaign officially kicks off in Russia

The presidential election campaign officially started in Russia on Saturday, with the polls scheduled to take place on March 4, 2012.

The Russian parliament’s upper house, the Federation Council, set the date of the elections on Friday. The decree came into force on Saturday after being published by Russian government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is widely expected to win the polls, is to be officially nominated as presidential candidate at the United Russia party congress on Sunday. The event will take place in the Luzhniki sports arena and is expected to attract some 11,000 participants and about 1,000 journalists.

In mid-October, Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev announced their plans to exchange jobs after the elections. Medvedev, who will lead United Russia in parliamentary polls due on December 4, is expected to become Russia’s new prime minister his presidential term expires.

Three of the four parties in parliament have already announced their presidential candidates. Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the leader of the right-wing LDPR party, and Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov will challenge Putin in the vote, while A Just Russia party will decide on its participation in presidential polls at a party congress on December 10.

Non-parliamentary parties, such as the Right Cause and Yabloko, are also undecided on whether or not they will take part in the presidential race.


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