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Russiaís 2018 Presidential Election
|Itís scheduled for March 18, multiple candidates expected to compete,
including Vladimir Putin if he seeks reelection.
As yet, he hasnít announced either way. Kremlin sources close to him suggest heíll run as an independent candidate.
Heís overwhelmingly popular, easily able to defeat all challengers if he seeks another term. When asked about his intentions, he said he hadnít yet decided.
Unlike Americaís money controlled endless campaign season, Russian ones are relatively short.
Kremlin sources suggested Putin will announce his candidacy and register as late as possible, likely this month, registering no later than January 6, 2018, the deadline for aspiring candidates.
As soon as Russiaís upper house Federation Council drafts a presidential campaign timetable, the Central Election Committee (CEC) will draft a campaign schedule.
Itíll be distributed to all regional election commissions throughout the country. Any citizen age-35 or older, whose been a permanent resident of the country for at least 10 years, is eligible to run for president.
According to Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, the campaign will begin sometime between December 7 and 15.
In days, Putinís intention should be known, possibly later this week. Parties may nominate a candidate for president. Russia has 69.
Once names are submitted, the Justice Ministry compiles the list and sends it to the CEC.
Once campaigns begin, parties have 25 days to hold a congress and present required documents to the CEC by the January 16 deadline.
Russian citizens may self-nominate to run for the nationís highest office. Once procedures are properly completed, candidates may organize rallies, display billboards, and distribute campaign materials.
Advertising materials must be presented to CEC officials. Proper documents for registration must be delivered to the CEC no later than 45 days before March 18, no earlier than 80 days.
Candidates may resister to run for president, beginning on December 27. Self-nominees must collect at least 300,000 signatures, each region accounting for no more than 7,500.
Party nominees are exempt from this requirement. Candidates may have assets abroad. When registration applications are submitted, cash and other valuables in foreign bank accounts must be closed.
Using foreign financial instruments are prohibited. Registration documents and signatures, if required, must be submitted by 6:00PM Moscow time on January 31.
Russia has nine time zones - from the Kalingrad Oblast to the Far East. The country has the worldís largest land mass by far at 6.6 million square miles, sharing land borders with 14 countries.
According to Russian law, media campaigning begins 28 days before election day - unlike Americaís endless season, US candidates engaging in perpetual fund-raising, beholden to wealthy donors.
Russiaís system is worldís apart, candidates given free air time on national and regional state-run television, next year beginning on February 17, continuing until election eve.
Media campaigning includes televised debates and videos discussing real issues, far different from the circus atmosphere in America.
Horse race coverage ignores real issues, voters unable to make informed choices. Media scoundrels influence outcomes, public trust undermined by a corrupt process - one-party rule with two right wings, democracy a meaningless figure of speech.
In Russia, itís the real thing. On March 18, 96,000 polling stations will open at 8:00 AM, closing at 8:00PM, a 12-hour period for voters to cast ballots, the process scrupulously open, free and fair.
The CEC has 10 days to approve the results. In 2012, things went smoothly, few irregularities reported - despite US propaganda claims otherwise.
If one presidential aspirant fails to receive a majority, a runoff will be held within three weeks.
In 2012, Putin was elected with a 63.6% majority, his nearest rival receiving 17.2% of the vote.
If he runs again, heíll likely triumph by a similar overwhelming margin. No one approaches his popularity.
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My newest book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."