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    EARLY VOTING FOR ELECTION OF RUSSIAN PRESIDENT TO TAKE PLACE IN IRAQ ON MARCH 12

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    BAGHDAD, March 10, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - The early voting for the election of a Russian President will take place in Iraq on March 12, Friday, which is officially a day off in the country.

    The chairman of the election commission, counsellor of the Russian Embassy in Iraq, Alexei Solomatin, said that the voting will take place in Baghdad, in the building of the Russian Consulate, and also in the small township of Al Yusufiya, some 30 kilometres to the south of Baghdad, where Russia is building the biggest thermal electric station in Iraq.

    "For security reasons it has been decided that 153 people working in Al Yusufiya will vote directly in that township," he said. "For this purpose, a visiting election commission will come to them. All other Russian citizens, who will show a desire to take part in the voting, will be able to do it in Baghdad," he added.

    Altogether some 360 people will be able to take part in the Russian presidential elections in Iraq. Such is the number of the people included into the election lists.

    However, Alexei Solomatin added, some more people may arrive from Russia in Iraq in the remaining two days. Then, the election lists will be corrected. In any case, practically all wishing to take part in the voting will have a chance to do that.

    An exception, most likely, will concern the 50 Russian people working on the reconstruction of the thermal electric station in the town of Al Nasiriya, which is situated 375 kilometres to the south of Baghdad. Taking into consideration the absence of security in Iraq, the Russian Foreign Ministry has decided not to expose the Russian citizens working in Al Nasiriya to an additional risk, which is connected with their going to Baghdad and back.

    All Russian women, who married Iraqis but have Russian citizenship, will not be able either to take part in the voting, because after the war in Iraq the Russian Embassy has lost contact with them.

    "Up to now, only five Russian women-citizens living in Iraq have contacted us. Every one of them we asked to inform their Russian acquaintances about the coming elections," Alexei Solomatin said.

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