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Russia to hold presidential elections on March 17

by Martin Fornusek December 7, 2023 10:33 AM 1 min read
Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is seen on a screen set at Red Square as he addresses a rally marking the illegal annexation of four regions of Ukraine Russian troops partly occupy – Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia – in central Moscow on Sept. 30, 2022. (Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images)
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Russia's upper chamber of parliament, the Federation Council, voted on Dec. 7 to set the date for the presidential elections on March 17 next year.

Vladimir Putin, in power since 1999 as either president or prime minister, has not yet officially announced his candidacy but is broadly expected to run and secure another term.

Constitutional changes signed by the Russian leader in 2021 allowed Putin to run for two more six-year terms, meaning he can potentially stay in power until 2036.

"Today's decision essentially kicks off the election campaign," Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko commented.

"Biased foreign organizations will certainly try to discredit our elections."

International observers have accused Russia of regularly falsifying elections to cement Putin's and his United Russia party's hold on power.

Russian authorities also use politically motivated charges against opposition figures to prevent a serious challenge to the regime, as they did in regard to Alexei Navalny during the 2018 presidential vote.

Putin's popularity has soared since the start of the full-scale invasion, and a poll by the Russian Levada Center from July showed that 68% of Russians want the current president to be re-elected.

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