Double-digit number of candidates set to challenge Putin in Russian election

Written by Jeppe W

Dec.20 - 2023 12:35 PM CET

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Foto: Wikipedia Commons
Foto: Wikipedia Commons

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As the Russian presidential election draws near, a notable development has emerged: sixteen candidates have officially filed their applications to run in the upcoming election.

This significant number of contenders marks a pivotal moment in Russia's political landscape, especially as President Vladimir Putin seeks a fifth term in office.

The Central Election Commission (CEC) Chairwoman, Ella Pamfilova, confirmed the receipt of these applications, as reported by the state-run RIA Novosti news agency. The election, scheduled to take place over three days starting March 15 next year, is expected to be highly competitive, albeit with an anticipated easy win for Putin.

The current political climate in Moscow, particularly post-2022, has seen a clampdown on opposition figures, a trend that has intensified following the Kremlin's military actions in Ukraine.

This backdrop adds a layer of complexity to the election, as the government has historically sidelined opposition parties and figures from political activities and elections.

Among the candidates is Leonid Slutsky from the Kremlin-friendly Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) of Russia, known for his role as a former negotiator in the Ukraine conflict.

Slutsky's candidacy is notable, as he asserts that his participation in the election will not detract votes from Putin.

Another candidate making headlines is Igor Girkin, a hardline nationalist and critic of the Kremlin.

Currently in detention on charges of extremism, Girkin has expressed his intention to challenge Putin in the election. This move underscores the diversifying political voices in Russia, despite the ongoing suppression of opposition.

Notably, Alexei Navalny, a prominent opposition figure, remains barred from running due to a past fraud charge, which his supporters have deemed politically motivated.

With the deadline for candidate applications set for December 27, each candidate must gather thousands of signatures to secure a spot on the ballot. This requirement is a critical step in the election process, ensuring a wide range of political representation.

As Russia prepares for this significant political event, the international community and Russian citizens alike will be watching closely, anticipating the potential shifts in the nation's political trajectory.

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