Nationalist party leader Zhirinovsky becomes 1st candidate in 2018 presidential race

Nationalist party leader Zhirinovsky becomes 1st candidate in 2018 presidential race
Russia’s Central Elections Committee has issued the first registration certificate for the 2018 presidential election to the head of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

Zhirinovsky filed in the package of documents required for registration as a candidate on Thursday, and on Friday the commission looked into the application and Okayed his participation in the race by registering a group of his representatives and allowing him to open a special bank account that will be used in the campaign. The law gives the central elections commission a maximum of five working days for accepting or rejecting a candidate’s application.

On Wednesday, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia convention unanimously approved its 71-year-old founder and leader, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, as its candidate for president. Earlier, he revealed the major points of his program, including radically slashing the number of parliamentary seats, doubling the legal minimum wage, lifting the moratorium on the death penalty, granting citizenship to all ethnic Russians who request it, and passing a law protecting the Russian language.

Last Friday, the upper house of the Russian parliament set the date of the election for March 18, 2018. So far, 34 people have expressed their intent to run for president. These include incumbent Russian President Vladimir Putin (who will run as an independent), the founder of liberal Yabloko party, Grigory Yavlinsky, the head of the pro-business Party of Growth, Boris Titov, and an array of minor politicians and celebrities, such as the head of the Grand Freemason Lodge of Russia, Andrey Bogdanov, and journalist and former ‘It Girl,’ Ksenia Sobchak.

Russia’s largest opposition party – the Communists – are expected to decide on their candidate at a convention on Saturday.

A public opinion poll conducted in mid-December showed that 67 percent of Russians plan to vote for Putin. Eight percent said they support Zhirinovsky, and four percent support Zyuganov.

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