Russia sets presidential election for March 17 - GulfToday

Russia sets presidential election for March 17


Russia's election chief Ella Pamfilova giving a speech during a Federation Council session in Moscow on Thursday. AFP

Russia on Thursday set March 17 as the date for a presidential election which is expected to be another shoo-in for Vladimir Putin, who has silenced opposition during over two decades in power.

In a meeting broadcast live on Russian television, the upper house of parliament unanimously approved the date of the vote.

The decision "practically kicks off the presidential campaign," said the head of the chamber, Valentina Matvienko.

Putin, a former KGB agent who has been in power in Russia either as president or prime minister since 1999, has not officially announced if he will stand in the vote for another six-year mandate.

"So far there have been no statements by Putin, so let's be patient here," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, when asked about whether the president planned to run.

Putin, 71, is due to hold an end-of-year press conference next week, where he could announce his candidacy.

It will be the first time he holds such a press conference since he ordered Russian troops into Ukraine in February 2022.

Russia has since claimed to annex the Ukrainian regions of Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, even though its troops do not fully control any of them.

Voting is planned also in those regions.

"Despite the difficult external circumstances and the attempts by the enemy to weaken Russia, we remain true to our main constitutional values," Matvienko said.

Putin did not immediately comment on the elections after the date was set, but said at a forum earlier that no-one could "stop or slow down" Russia's development.

Agence France-Presse


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