Parliamentary parties to start presidential campaigns in last days of December – report
Representatives of the center-left party Fair Russia have told Kommersant daily that their elections convention is most likely to take place on December 25.
“This time will be OK, if we work in the morning we will have more chances for TV coverage,” they said. However, the party sources again declined to name any possible candidates for the presidential nomination in their party.
“This will be based of the internal discussion, whether we must participate or not and who exactly will run if we do,” they said.
The head of the Liberal Democratic Party in the State Duma, Igor Lebedev, told reporters that he and his comrades wanted to announce their candidate for 2018 presidential race as soon as possible, but did not specify a possible date.
Russia’s largest opposition party, the Communists, held the first stage of their elections convention in May this year, but they deliberately chose not to close the event so that the same members could gather again and choose a candidate for the presidential race.
The deputy chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Russian Federation (KPRF), Yury Afonin, told Kommersant that grass root organizations in Russian regions were still discussing the possible nomination for the 2018 race and that the final decision on the issue is expected to be made in late December.
However, sources in the party agreed that it was not good to hold congresses and conventions so close to the New Year holidays and Russian Orthodox Christmas (both New Year Day and Orthodox Christmas [January 7] are official days off in Russia and often the government combines them, shifting a few working days to make a short vacation period for everyone).
The actual date of the elections convention will be chosen at the plenary session of the Communist Party’s Central Committee that will take place on November 1-7, and that will be dedicated primarily to the celebration of the centenary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.
However, another deputy chairman of KPRF’s Central Committee, Dmitry Novikov, emphasized in his comment that the events organized in connection with the anniversary of the revolution were self-sufficient and not tied to the upcoming presidential polls.
According to Russian law, the date of 2018 presidential elections must be announced between December 7 and December 17, and it is widely expected to be March 18 – the anniversary of Crimea’s reunification with Russia.
So far, three established Russian politicians have announced that they intend to run for the presidency – the founder of the liberal Yabloko party, Grigory Yavlinsky, the head of the nationalist LDPR, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, and anti-corruption activist Aleksey Navalny. The latter, however, is technically barred from running under Russian law because he is currently serving a five-year suspended jail sentence that will not expire before the next election.
Another person intending to run is Boris Yakemenko – one of the founders of the pro-Kremlin youth movement Nashi (‘Ours’ or ‘Allies’). In early September, Yakemenko told reporters that he will run as independent, adding that he had not coordinated this step with the authorities and explaining it by the desire to learn how many votes a simple man can get.
Parliamentary Majority Party United Russia has not disclosed its plans for the presidential elections.
Incumbent President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly has faced questions about a potential next term, but he and his press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, have always said it is too early to discuss the issue. In early September Putin explained this behavior by the fact that such announcement could paralyze all political and administrative work in the country.
“I have said it before and I can say it again – as soon as they announce election campaigns in our country, everyone immediately stops working. I know this firsthand,” Putin told reporters.