Russia goes to poll tomorrow to elect country's 3rd President

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Moscow, Mar 1 (UNI) Around 109 million voters will throng thousands of polling stations tomorrow to elect Russia's third President since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The incumbent President Vladimir Putin who succeeded Mr Boris Yeltsin, Russia's first President, could not participate in the presidential race as the Russian Constitution bars him from the contest because of his holding of two consecutive four-year terms in the office.

Mr Putin is backing his close ally and First Deputy Prime Minister and front-runner Dmitry Medvedev nominated by the ruling United Russian party.

A lawyer by profession, Medvdev, 42, has vowed that he would appoint Mr Putin as Prime Minister if he is elected President. In his turn, President Putin said he would accept the post of Prime Minister if Medvedev wins the presidential election.

Mr Medvedev in-charge of key national projects, has pledged to continue President Putin's policy and with Putin's support he is sure to win the election.

Various latest public opinion polls has predicted that he would receive between 60 to 80 per cent of the votes.

The other three candidates, including veteran Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky and little-known Democratic Party leader Andrei Bogadanov are far behind to give any serious challenge to Mr Medvedev.

According to the latest polls, Zyuganov is expected to win 15.1 per cent of the vote, Zhirinovsky 10.9 per cent and Bogdanov about one per cent.

Ahead of the presidential election, the Russian President yesterday appealed to voters to go to the polling stations tomorrow and vote, to further ensure the stability and security of the country.

'' I ask you to go to the polling stations on Sunday and vote for our future, for the future of Russia,'' he urged in his televised appeal.

UNI XC GT HT1848

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