MOSCOW, December 20 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Central Election Commission registered Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as a presidential candidate on Tuesday for elections on March 4, 2012, RIA Novosti reported.
Putin, who is likely to return to power after having served two presidential terms from 2000 to 2008, became the first candidate to be registered by the Central Election Commission.
Among other candidates who may challenge Putin in the presidential race are the leaders of Russian parties, including A Just Russia head, Sergei Mironov, the leader of the nationalist LDPR party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, as well as the Communist party candidate, Gennady Zyuganov, and the liberal Yabloko party candidate, Grigory Yavlinsky.
The independent candidates who were allowed to bid for presidency are the former mayor of the Russian Far Eastern city of Vladivostok, Viktor Cherepkov, Irkutsk Regional Governor Dmitry Mezentsev, Orenburg public figure Renat Khamiev, leader of unregistered Volya (Will) party Svetlana Piunova and a billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. In order to be registered as full-fledged candidats they need to collect two million signatures across the country in their support.
All presidential candidates will continue to fulfil their work obligations during their election campaigns, the Election Commission secretary Nikolay Konkin said.
“The prime minister does not need to leave his post during the election campaign,” Konkin said, adding that the same applies to the other candidates.
Last week during his annual Q&A televised session, Putin, who heads the United Russia party without being its member, said that he considered himself the main contender in the presidential elections.