Russia bans publication of opinion polls ahead of prez election

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Moscow, Feb 26 (UNI) Russia today banned publishing opinion polls and forecasts ahead of presidential election scheduled for march 2.

It will be lifted 2100 hrs on election day, after all polling stations are closed in Russia.

Under the presidential election law, all publication of results of the public opinion polls or outlooks related to election are banned in Russia during five days prior to the day of voting.

However, the informal competition of public opinion poll organisations is under way. By tradition, polling services submit sealed envelopes with their forecasts to the Central Election Commission on the eve of election. The potential accurate winner will be known after March 2.

Currently, the concern of the pollsters is to get ready for the exit polls. Exactly they, along with preliminary count of votes, will provide the most objective results late March 2.

Presidential candidates, including front-runner Dmitry Medvedev, Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, ultranationalist LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Democratic Party leader Andrei Bogdanov, will continue their campaigns till midnight February 29 to March 1, making the last day before the election 'the time of silence.' Meanwhile, Russian Central Election Commission (CEC) chairman Vladimir Churov today said more than 200 international observers have been accredited in order to monitor the presidential election in Russia.

Russia has invited 32 international foreign organisations to provide international monitoring of the election, he said.

The CEC said earlier that a total of around 300 international observers were expected in Russia to monitor the presidential election.

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