Russian parties line up for the ballot

Russia is fast approaching the December parliamentary vote. Invitations to monitor the elections have been sent out to around four hundred international observers. Meanwhile the country’s Central Election Committee has drawn the parties' numbers in a ball

The Agrarian party got the number one slot, followed by Civil force and Democratic Party of Russia.

The Communist party got number four.

The country's largest political party United Russia and Yabloko Party are rounding up the list.

The United Russia, which got number 10 – says it is happy with its slot on the ballot.

Meanwhile, in the official pre-election campaign, each party has been allocated paid and unpaid slots on TV and Radio.

With less then a month until polling stations open, preparations are in full swing.

The drawing procedure distributes TV and radio air time for the 11 parties registered for the forthcoming parliamentary election.

According to Russian law, parties can use this time to show their campaign ads or use it for public debates with their opponents.

Party priorities differ and the pro-Kremlin United Russia will waste no air time on debating.

“In the coming thirty something days our task is to explain the importance of voters supporting the course followed by the President in the last eight years,” claims Andrey Vorobyev of United Russia Party.

But it's not just the politicians who have a lot on their plate.

Invitations have gone out from Russia's Central Election Committee to all international observers expected to monitor the December 2 election.

Despite claims Russia was deliberately stalling inviting observers the Election Committee head Vladimir Churov explains the reason for the delay is much more simple.

“It took a long time to invite observers because registration procedures changed. And how can we invite people before we know how many parties are in the running? Now, we have sent out the invitations. We have asked representative from PACE, OSCE, CIS, SCO and election committee representatives from a number of European countries to attend,” said Mr Churov.

Around 400 international observers are being invited to monitor the Duma election.

With the clocks ticking, parties are shifting their focus from preparations to actions. Campaigning officially starts on Saturday. Many believe politicians will be squeezing the most out of the air time they are allotted so watch this space.