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    Russian presidential polls officially set for March 2

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    Russia's upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, has officially set presidential elections for March 2, 2008, the speaker said Monday.

    MOSCOW, November 26 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, has officially set presidential elections for March 2, 2008, the speaker said Monday.

    The presidential election campaign in Russia, which will also be electing the lower house of parliament December 2, officially starts November 28 after the Federation Council's decision is published in the official government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta and the parliament's newspaper Parliamentskaya Gazeta, Sergei Mironov said.

    "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 election campaign.

    "Documents for registering candidates with the Central Election Commission can be submitted from December 12 to January 16, the media campaign will run February 2-29, and candidates can publish their political manifestos February 2-10," Churov said.

    It is still unclear who the ruling pro-presidential party, United Russia, widely expected to gain the parliamentary majority December 2, will nominate as its presidential candidate.

    So far, those planning to run include Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, liberal Yabloko 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), said Friday he might be chosen as a single candidate for the united right-wing opposition. Mikhail Kasyanov, leader of the People's Democratic Union, said Friday he was ready to negotiate on a single presidential candidate with the SPS. A former premier, Kasyanov has also expressed presidential ambitions.

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