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Russian presidential, parliament polls on March 2

By RIA Novosti

Moscow : Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, has officially announced presidential elections March 2, the speaker said Monday.

According to speaker Sergei Mironov, electioneering for the elections of the president and to the State Duma (lower house) will start Nov 28 after the decision of the federal council is published in the official government daily ‘Rossiiskaya Gazeta’ and parliament’s daily ‘Parliamentskaya Gazeta’.

“The election campaign will start on the day of publication,” Mironov said.

Russia’s top election official, Vladimir Churov, said the Central Election Commission had worked out a timetable for the campaign.

“Documents for registering candidates with the Central Election Commission can be submitted from Dec 12 to Jan 16, the media campaign will run Feb 2-29, and candidates can publish their political manifestos Feb 2-10,” Churov said.

It is still unclear who will be the presidential candidate of the ruling pro-presidential party, United Russia, which is expected to sweep the Dec 2 parliamentary elections.

So far, those planning to run include communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, liberal Yabloko Party leader Grigory Yavlinsky, ultra-nationalist LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, British-based dissident Vladimir Bukovsky, former chief of the Central Bank Viktor Gerashchenko, leader of the United Civil Front Garry Kasparov, and ultra-right parliamentarian Nikolai Kuryanovich.

Boris Nemtsov, a leader of the Union of Right Forces (SPS), Friday said he might be chosen as a single candidate for the united right-wing opposition. Mikhail Kasyanov, leader of the People’s Democratic Union, had also said he was ready to negotiate on a single presidential candidate with the SPS. A former premier, Kasyanov has also expressed presidential ambitions.