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Presidential Elections in Russia - When, Where and How
February 29, 2012 15:02


Presidential Election in Russian Federation is a procedure of direct, secret and universal voting. On the federal level, Russia elects a president as head of state and a legislature, one of the two chambers of the Federal Assembly. Since the fall of the USSR, there have been five elections for the presidency and five for parliament - in 1991, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008, not including the coming 2012 election. 
The decision of creating a post of the President of Russian Federation with five-year term was made on 17 March 1991. 
Later, the presidential term was reduced till four years. In December 2008, a constitutional amendment was passed to extend it to six years to take effect after the next presidential election. So, the president elected in 2012, will be the first ruler to hold control over the country for such a long term, in Russia's modern history. Calling the election is the responsibility of the Federation Council.
By now, three Russian Presidents were elected - Boris Eltsin, Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev. The first two served two presidential terms. According to Russia's constitution, the President may not serve more than two consecutive terms.

Candidates for Presidency
Any Russian citizen age 35 or above who has been resident in the country for at least 10 years and does not hold citizenship nor right of residence in another country is eligible to be nominated.
There are two ways to be registered as a candidate for presidency:
1. As a candidate of a political party
Parties winning any number of seats in the immediately preceding Duma election automatically have the right to nominate a presidential candidate. This year there are such parties as The United Russia, he Communist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party, and Fair Russia. Each of them nominated their own candidate. 
A party candidate has to be endorsed by a party conference and have his or her credentials presented to the Central Electoral Commission within 25 days of the announcement of the election.
Even if some party is not represented in the Duma, it still can nominate its candidate, though such parties face an additional hurdle in order to be confirmed for a place on the ballot: they have to collect 2 million signatures from an electorate of approximately 100 million.
2. As an independent candidate.
Candidates can stand as independents by registering a supporters' group with the Central Electoral Commission within 20 days of the formal announcement of the election. Like non-Duma parties, they have to collect 2 million signatures in order to be confirmed for a place on the ballot.
This year there is only the one independent candidate - Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov.

Registration and Rejection
Within five days after filing complete nomination papers, the Central Electoral Commission either accepts or rejects the nomination on stated grounds. Candidates have a right of appeal to the Supreme Court, which has to rule within five days. 
 As it was said earlier, this year 5 people were nominated as candidates. And at least 12 people claimed their intension to be a candidate, but only 10 presented necessary documents to the Electoral Commission. At a later date, some of them were turned down for different reasons. For example, candidate from non-Duma party "Yabloko", Grigory Yavlinsky was rejected as having too many invalid signatures. He did not appeal to the Supreme Court, but denounced the decision as politically motivated. At last, only five candidates managed to file complete nomination papers. Four of them are from Duma's parties and one is a nominator for himself. 

Registered Candidates 2012
The following candidates have been successfully registered by the Central Election Commission:

Vladimir Putin, nominated by United Russia
Gennady Zyuganov, nominated by Communist Party of the Russian Federation
Sergey Mironov, nominated by A Just Russia
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, nominated by Liberal Democratic Party of Russia
Mikhail Prokhorov, independent.
You can read about all the candidates in detail in our special quide.

Electing a President
The winning candidate requires an absolute majority of the total vote. If no candidate secures this majority in the first-round ballot, then a second-round run off election must be held three weeks later in which the only contestants are the two front-running candidates in the first round.
 In the five presidential elections, only once, in 1996, has a second round been needed, when voters chose between democrat Boris Eltsin and communist Gennady Zyuganov. The "Red Power" wasn't able to defeat new political trend then.
 According to precanvas, Vladimir Putin has enough per cents of supporters to ensure his victory in the first round, but still many believe the whole situation is not so evident and under some circumstances Putin can face the second round, as the number of his opponents is rather big.

Pre-election Campaign
The election legislation includes detailed provisions governing the conduct of electronic and print media during the campaign, inter alia providing for free and paid broadcast time and print space to all political parties registered in the elections on equal conditions for campaign purposes and obligations of state-controlled and private media. The law also requires equal media access for all parties, and that news items on election events must be separate from editorial commentary.

Voting
President of Russian Federation is elected by the country's citizens on the ground of direct and universal elective franchise. Every citizen of Russian Federation older 18 has a voting right (excepting those who were deprived of electoral right by court's decision).
 The voting process is held at special polling stations in the presence of observers and electoral committee. Each voter shall vote in person. Voting for other voters shall not be allowed. The voter receives ballot paper with names of candidates and a short information about them on it. When receiving the ballot, a voter shall write the series and number of his/her passport or equivalent identity paper and put his/her signature in the voters list. Staying alone in a polling booth, the voter puts a tick in the special field near the name of the candidate he or she wants voting for. Then the ballot is dropped in a seal ballot-box.

Counting of Votes
The votes counting begins right after closing of the polling stations (8pm). Counting is made by the members of electoral committee in the presence of political observers. The preliminary results of voting are usually announced already an hour after polling stations' closing, but these are just exit polls. More or less convincing results are published the next morning after the election day. And the final and official estimation is published only two weeks later. Still, the "next day results" are enough to announce the winner of the election campaign or to decide about the second round.

Key Dates:
till November 29, 2011 - publication of the list of the political parties which have the right to promote 
their candidates for presidency
from December 14, 2011 to January 19, 2012 - tendering documents for the candidate's registration to 
the Central Election Committee (including signs of supporters)
till December 16, 2011 - promotion of independent candidates, tendering an application for voters groups
registration to the Central Election Committee.
till December 19, 2011 - taking a decision about registration or about refusal of registration voters groups.
till December 21, 2011 - promotion of candidates at the official meetings of the political parties. Giving
reports and official decisions of the meetings to the Central Election Committee.
till December 24, 2011 - taking a decision about registration or about refusal of registration authorized
persons of the parties.
till January 14, 2012 - forming the list of polling stations.
till January 30, 2012 - taking a decision about registration or about refusal of registration of candidates for 
 presidency (no later that 10 days after receiving documents from a candidate.)
 till January 31. 2012 - giving out a copy of decision about refusal or registration of a candidate. (no later 
than a day after taking the decision)
from February 5 to March 3, 2012 - holding a pre-election agitation in press, TV and radio.
February 2-10, 2012 - forming precinct election commissions
till February 9, 2012 - approval of the text in a ballot paper in the Russian language
till February 13, 2012 - publication (including the Internet) of the candidates' electoral programmes,
sending its copies to the Central Election Committee.
till February 28, 2012 - any candidate has a right to withdraw his candidacy, any party has a right to
withdraw its candidate.
till February 28, 2012 - publication of the public-opinion polls' results about the coming elections.
till March 3, 2012 - any candidate has a right to withdraw his candidacy in some forcing circumstances.
till March 4, 2012 - sending documents for the registration of the candidates' authorized delegates to
the Central Election Committee.
March 3, 2012 - "Silence Day", any agitation is prohibited.
March 4, 2012 - Election Day
till March 15, 2012 - final estimation of the elections results.
till March 18, 2012 - publication of the elections results.
till March 25, 2012 - if necessary, the day of repeated voting or the second round.
May 7, 2012 - inauguration of the elected president.

Sources: democracy.ru Wikipedia cikrf.ru vybory.ru
Julia Alieva


Author: Julia Alieva

Tags: Elections 2012 Russian politics Russian law Russian political parties  

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