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    MOSCOW, January 4 (RIA Novosti correspondent Nikolai Makarov) - Sergei Mironov, Speaker of the Federation Council, or the upper house of parliament, has been nominated to stand for Russian president. A relative decision was adopted at the third congress of the Russian Party of Life, which is underway in Moscow. Mr Mironov is the leader of this party.

    By joining the presidential race the party backs the incumbent president's reformist potential, Nikolai Levichev, chairman of the party's executive committee, said when speaking about the reasons behind the nomination of Mr Mironov. By nominating its own candidate, the party does not betray President Putin, but strengthens the democratic basis of his line, emphasized Mr Levichev.

    When addressing the congress, Mr Mironov reaffirmed his intention to join the race and said that decision had not been agreed on with anyone.

    He described as incorrect the refusal to stand for the presidency by the leaders of some of Russia's political parties.

    Mr Mironov will campaign to promote his party's principles. He was hopeful Russia would eventually become a great power and its residents would live long and happily.

    Mr Mironov is actually the last presidential claimant. A total of 9 persons have announced the intention to stand for president. Six of them, including the incumbent president, will stand as independent candidates.

    The Russian Party of Life is the fourth political party, which has advanced its presidential candidate. The Communist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) and the Party of Russian Regions, the latter being part of the Homeland bloc, have also nominated their candidates. Nikolai Kharitonov is standing from the Communists, Oleg Malyshkin from the LDPR, while Homeland nominated Viktor Gerashchenko, former Central Bank chief.

    January 6 is the deadline for submitting registration documents to the Central Election Commission, while the elections are due to take place on March 14.

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