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Russia kicks off presidential election campaign

Russia's 2024 presidential election will be held on March 17 and the winner will be inaugurated in May.



Russia will hold next year's presidential election in March at which President Vladimir Putin is likely to run for another term that could keep him in power until at least 2030.


WHEN?


The election will be held on March 17 and the winner will be inaugurated in May.


The upper house of the Russian parliament voted for the date on Thursday - essentially the start of the election campaign.


Voting will also take place in what Russia calls its new territories - parts of Ukraine now controlled by Russian forces.


HOW MANY VOTERS?


Around 110 million people have the right to vote in Russia but around 70-80 million people usually cast ballots.


Turnout in 2018 was 67.5 per cent


HOW LONG CAN A RUSSIAN PRESIDENT RULE?


Putin, who was handed the presidency by Boris Yeltsin on the last day of 1999, has already served as president for longer than any other Russian ruler since Josef Stalin, beating even Leonid Brezhnev's 18-year tenure.


The 1993 Russian constitution, based loosely on France's 1958 constitution, was seen by some in the West as a development that would lead to democracy in post-Soviet Russia

It originally specified that a president could serve for two successive terms of four years.


Amendments in 2008 extended the presidential term to six years while amendments in 2020 removed the stipulation that no person could serve as president for more than two terms "in a row".


WILL PUTIN RUN?


Putin has yet to say whether or not he will run, though Reuters reported last month that he had decided to.


After Putin was appointed as acting president by Yeltsin on the last day of 1999, he won the 2000 presidential election with 53 per cent of the vote and the 2004 election with 71.3 per cent of the vote.


DEMOCRACY OR DICTATORSHIP? 


The West casts Putin as a war criminal and a dictator though opinion polls show he has approval ratings of 80 per cent - higher than before the war in Ukraine


WHAT DO ELECTION MONITORS SAY?


In 2018, a OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) mission observed the election, commenting:


"After intense efforts to promote turnout, citizens voted in significant numbers, yet restrictions on the fundamental freedoms of assembly, association and expression, as well as on candidate registration, have limited the space for political engagement and resulted in a lack of genuine competition.


"While candidates could generally campaign freely, the extensive and uncritical coverage of the incumbent as president in most media resulted in an uneven playing field"


WHO ELSE WILL, OR CAN, RUN?


Putin will face little real competition


In 2018, the man who came second, Communist strawberry tycoon Pavel Grudinin, who formerly supported Putin, won under nine million votes, or just 11.8 per cent of the vote. Putin won over 56 million votes, according to official results


Russia's most famous opposition politician, Alexei Navalny, is in jail so cannot run for president


Pro-war Russian nationalist Igor Girkin, who is in custody awaiting trial for inciting extremism, said he wanted to run for president even though he understood the March election would be a "sham" with the winner already clear


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