Russia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) has unanimously approved the registration of Vladimir Putin as a candidate in the forthcoming presidential election, state-run news agency TASS reported on Monday.
The current president is to stand as an independent in the elections set to take place on 17 March. Putin’s election headquarters announced last week that the 300,000 signatures required to run as an independent had been collected. The campaign said it had received over 2.5 million signatures, provided by voters from each of Russia’s regions, including the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine.
A sample of 60,000 signatures were certified as valid with a discrepancy of 0.15-5% disqualified signatures, according to CEC secretary Natalya Budarina. Of the total 315,000 signatures submitted to the CEC, 91 were disqualified, SOTA reported.
Putin is now the fourth candidate to have his name on the ballot in the March election. Those already approved to run are Leonid Slutsky of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, Vladislav Davankov of the New People party, and Nikolay Kharitonov of the Communist Party. Two other political parties, United Russia and For a Just Russia — For Truth decided not to nominate their own candidate and to directly support Putin’s re-election instead.
Activist group Komitet-2024 filed more than 300 incidents in which it said election rules had been broken during the Putin campaign’s collection of signatures to the CEC. The group demanded that the CEC raise the number of invalid signatures to 75,000 in correlation with their findings of massive violations during the collection process, a demand that the CEC has ignored.
Most significantly, the endorsement of the incumbent president made by state officials, including the governors of the Krasnoyarsk, Bryansk, Belgorod, Tomsk, Samara, and Ryazan regions, as well as the mayors of cities such as Moscow, Pskov, and Kaliningrad, are prohibited by law.
Putin announced his fifth run for the presidency on 8 December. During a ceremony in the Kremlin marking Defender of the Fatherland Day, Putin responded to a question from a functionary from the Russian-occupied Donetsk region of Ukraine by confirming he was planning to run again.