Putin appeals voters to turn to polling booths for Russia's future

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Moscow, Feb 29 (UNI) Russian President Vladimir Putin today appealed all voters to turn to polling booths across the country to cast their ballots for Russia's future, in a nationally televised address.

''A major political event, an election of the President of our country, will be held on Sunday, March 2,'' he said.

''The day after tomorrow you will vote for the new President, and thus finish the second and crucial stage of the renewal of the higher echelons of power,'' Mr Putin said pointing at the parliamentary elections held last December.

''Russia's onward movement must not stop, and changes for the better must be continued,'' he noted.

''That is why difficult and major tasks have been set for the coming few years,'' he said, asking, ''How to reach these goals better and quicker? Who will do real good to millions of people, all citizens of our great Fatherland in the office of head of state?'' ''These days, every one of you has an opportunity to answer these questions himself and make a conscious choice at the election for the Russian President,'' Mr Putin, who is to step down post presidential poll after completing two consecutive terms, said.

''We are all well aware how big the role and responsibility of the head of such state as Russia is, how important citizen's trust is for him and for an efficient and steady work as President,'' he said.

''That is why every vote and the opinion of each one of you will be important on March 2. I urge you to go to the polling stations on Sunday and vote for our future, for the future of Russia,'' the President said.

Front-runner Dmitry Medvedev, backed by Mr Putin, is widely tipped to win the race. The other three candidates include veteran Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, ultranationalist LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky and little-known Russian Democratic Party leader Andrei Bogdanov.

UNI XC SKB ND1810

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