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Russia presidential elections: Voting begins, Putin eyes fifth term

Voting for presidential elections will take place in Russia from March 15-17. Polling stations have already opened in Russia’s Far Eastern regions, particularly the easternmost Kamchatka and Chukotka, TASS reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (AP)

Kamchatka Governor Vladimir Solodov became the first regional head to cast his vote. People across Russia ate voting to elect their President for the next six years. For the first time, the people of Donbass and Novorossia will vote for the Russian presidential elections.

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It is the first time that the latest technologies tested during earlier lower-level polls–a three-day voting period and a remote vote–will be used during the presidential elections.

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The candidates who are contesting for top state post in the 2024 election are Vladislav Davankov, Russia’s incumbent President Vladimir Putin, Leonid Slutsky and Nikolay Kharitonov.

New People’s Party has nominated Vladislav Davankov, with Putin being a self-designated candidate. Leonid Slutsky of the LDPR party and Nikolay Kharitonov are also in fray from the Communist Party of Russia, according to TASS

At the very start of the presidential race, as many as 33 people, including nine contenders from parties and 24 independent contenders, planned to contest for Russia’s top state post. Among them, only 15 people submitted the documents needed to be registered as candidates.

Only 11 candidates remained in the presidential race when the deadline for submitting documents expired on January 1. Eventually, only four candidates were registered.

It is the first time that the presidential polls in Russia will be conducted over three days. According to Russian Central Election Commission Chair Ella Pamfilova, the people liked this format as it gives them more opportunity to cast votes in the presidential polls, TASS reported.

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Over 94,000 polling stations will be open in Russia from 8 am (local time) to 8 pm (local time). Except several regions abroad, the voting will formally end on March 17 at 9 pm (local time) when polling stations in Kaliningrad will close.

As many as 295 polling stations will open in 144 foreign nations and on the territory of Baikonur space centre, which Russia has leased from Kazakhstan. The exact timeframe of the vote will differ from nation to nation. Thailand will be the first nation where polling stations will open at the Russian Consulate General in Phuket.

Also, during the presidential elections, people will have the option to cast their vote electronically. Online voting is available in 29 regions, including Moscow. People were asked to submit applications to cast their ballots online from January 29 to March 11, TASS reported.

More than 4.7 million people applied to vote online. People will get to know about the results of the online vote on March 17 from 10 pm (local time) to 11 pm (local time).

So far, Putin has served four terms as Russian President. He was elected Russian President in 2000 and re-elected in 2004, 2012, and 2018, Al Jazeera reported. If he wins, Putin will serve another six years, due to constitutional amendments that have expanded the term. This would mark his fifth term. He can then be re-elected again in 2030 for a sixth term.

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