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    PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN: LAST DAY OF ACCEPTANCE OF LISTS OF SIGNATURES

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    MOSCOW, January 28, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent Nikolai Makarov) -- A regular round of the presidential election campaign is ending on Wednesday, January 28th - at 18.00 sharp Moscow time the Central Election Commission (CEC) is to stop accepting voters' signatures collected in support of the presidential candidates.

    Only three out of the eight candidates to the Presidency - Sergey Glazyev, Irina Khakamada and Vladimir Bryntsalov - have not submitted their lists of signatures to the Central Election Commission so far.

    Under the law, the presidential candidates must submit at least 2 million but not more than 2.5 million signatures of voters to the CEC.

    The CEC is given up to ten days to check them, but only 600,000 signatures are to be verified at random. To enable the CEC to register a candidate, the proportion of "spoilage' in the lists of signatures must not exceed 25%.

    The group, set up in support of the self-nomination of incumbent president Vladimir Putin, was the first to submit the lists of voters' signatures, back last Friday.

    The representatives of the Party of Life, which put forward the candidature of the current head of the Federation Council (the parliament's upper chamber), Sergei Mironov, submitted its lists on Monday, and the representatives of the "support group" of former secretary of Russia's Security Council of the Yeltsin period Ivan Rybkin - on Tuesday. Two other candidates - Nikolai Kharitonov and Oleg Malyshkin, put forward by the KPRF and the LDPR respectively, were ridded of collecting signatures as representatives of the parties which had overcome the 5% barrier at the December 7th parliamentary elections.

    Two potential candidates have already bowed out of the presidential race. Ex-head of Russia's Central Bank Viktor Gherashchenko, proposed for election by the Russian Regions' Party, was not registered by the CEC because he refused to collect signatures, while Anzori Aksentyev withdrew his candidature on the day before.

    As CEC chairman Alexander Veshnyakov said, the final list of presidential candidates will become known not later than on February 9th.

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