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Russia: Putin registered as presidential candidate

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been registered as a candidate for the March 15-17 presidential election, the country's Central Election Commission announced on Monday.

According to commission secretary Natalia Budarina, 315,000 signatures were submitted in support of Putin, and 60,000 of them were randomly selected for verification.

"As a result of the verification, 91 out of 60,000 signatures were recognized as invalid. Thus, 91 invalid signatures make up 0.15% of the number of verified signatures," she said.

Who else is running for president?

Putin has become the fourth registered candidate in the upcoming presidential elections in Russia. Earlier, the Central Election Commission registered as candidates Leonid Slutsky, leader of the nationalist LDPR party, Vladislav Davankov, deputy speaker of the State Duma and member of the New People party, and Nikolai Kharitonov, Duma deputy from the Communist party.

Other potential candidates, including anti-war candidate Boris Nadezhdin, have until Wednesday to collect the required number of signatures in support of their campaigns. Nadezhdin was nominated by the Civic Initiative Party, so he only needs to collect 105,000 signatures.

In December, Russia's election commission rejected the application of pro-peace politician Yekaterina Duntsova, citing "errors in the documents." That decision was upheld by the Supreme Court.

Putin's fifth election campaign

Since the war in Ukraine began, Putin has intensified his crackdown on the opposition. His most prominent critics have either fled abroad or been imprisoned, such as Alexey Navalny.

The Russian president is widely expected to win a new six-year term and would become Russia's longest-serving ruler since the 18th century. For Putin, the upcoming election will be the fifth in his political career, having previously been elected head of state four times (2000, 2004, 2012, and 2018).

In 2008, he switched roles with Dmitry Medvedev, who had previously served as prime minister. At the time, Putin was constitutionally barred from serving a third consecutive term as president of Russia, so he assumed the role of prime minister under President Dmitry Medvedev from 2008 to 2012.

dh/rc (Reuters, Interfax, TASS)