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14 Mar, 2024 20:30

Polls open in Russian presidential election

Voting is set to run for three days, with the country’s citizens choosing from among four candidates
Polls open in Russian presidential election

Polling stations have opened across Russia, kickstarting the 2024 presidential election, in which president Vladimir Putin faces three opponents. The voting is set to take place for three days through Sunday.

This year, four candidates are vying for the top job, which comes with a six-year term. Incumbent Vladimir Putin, who is running as an independent candidate, is up against the head of the right-wing Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) Leonid Slutsky, Communist candidate Nikolay Kharitonov, and Vladislav Davankov, representing the liberal centrist New People.

This will be the first presidential election in Russia following a 2020 constitutional reform, which established a limit of two six-year terms for any one person serving as head of state. However, the change also resulted in Putin’s terms being “nullified,” enabling him to run for office again.

Apart from voting at polling stations in person, residents of some 28 regions are able to cast their ballots online through the country’s electronic voting system. To take part in the online poll, the voters had to file special requests through the digital platform of the Russian government, Gosuslugi, before Monday. Voters from Moscow, however, are spared this prerequisite and are able to vote online freely.

The election is projected to have a high turnout of some 71% according to estimates by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTSIOM) pollster. Early voting has already taken place in several remote regions of Russia, with around two million people having already cast ballots, official figures show.

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