Four candidates remain on the final list following the Central Election Commission (CEC) of the Russian Federation’s completion of the registration process for the upcoming presidential election. Interestingly, voters will have a choice of just four options for the first time since 2008.
With confirmed candidates Leonid Slutsky of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), Vladislav Davankov of New People, and Nikolay Kharitonov of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF), Vladimir Putin, the current president, is seeking an unprecedented fifth term as an independent.
Party nominees could file nominations from December 8 to January 1, and independent candidates could submit nominations until December 27. Ella Pamfilova, the chair of the Russian Central Election Commission, initially identified 33 possible candidates; however, by the deadline of January 1, only 15 had finished the required paperwork.
The first candidates to register were Slutsky, Davankov, and Kharitonov on January 9. All three are members of the parties (LDPR, New People, and KPRF) that are represented in the lower house of the Russian parliament, hence they do not need to collect signatures.
On January 29, President Putin formally entered the election following the campaign organisers’ remarkable collection of 3.5 million signatures, which surpassed the necessary quantity. Of the 60,000 signatures that were chosen for verification, only 0.15% were found to be invalid.
January 31 was the cutoff date for non-parliamentary party candidates and self-nominated candidates to turn in their registration paperwork and signatures. Sergey Baburin, Irina Sviridova, and Andrey Bogdanov decided to drop out of the contest at this time.
Due to a significant number of invalid signatures (14.9% and 15.2%, respectively) presented in support of Sergey Malinkovich of the Communists of Russia party and Boris Nadezhdin of the Civic Initiative party, the CEC denied their registration on February 8. Nadezhdin has stated that he plans to appeal this ruling to the Supreme Court of Russia.
In addition, self-nominated bloggers Rada Russkikh and Anatoly Batashev were not allowed to compete since they could not have the necessary amount of signatures and certain necessary documents.