Presidential candidates to be registered by Jan 27: Spokesperson

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Moscow, Dec 6 (UNI) All candidates for the Presidential election in Russia must be registered with the Central Election Commission by January 27, spokesperson for the Russian Central Election said today.

The political parties must obtain permission to nominate their candidates by December 23, adding the independent candidates must submit their documents to the Commission before December 18, spokeperson Maya Grishina told RIA Novosti news agency.

The presidential election is scheduled for March 2, 2008. Under the Constitution, incumbent President Vladimir Putin is forbidden from seeking a third term.

The campaign and TV debates will start on February 2, after the registration process is concluded.

However, unlike during Parliamentary elections, if a candidate refuses to hold TV debates, he would not be given compensatory air time, Ms Grishina informed.

The pro-Kremlin United Russia party, which won 64 per cent of the votes with the current president heading its candidate list at the December 2 polls, used its air time for party political broadcasts rather than for debates with opponents.

There has been broad speculation about the incumbent's successor, with First Deputy Prime Ministers Sergei Ivanov and Dmitry Medvedev seen as the possible candidates, along with Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov.

The United Russia party has promised to announce its candidate for the presidential race in mid-December. The United Russia sources earlier said the convention would take place on December 20.

Kremlin officials have said Mr Putin will remain a 'national leader' after leaving office to ensure the continuity of current policies, although there has been no official clarification as to what exactly this might entail.

A number of politicians have already announced their intention to run in the presidential elections, including the Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov and ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

UNI

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