Russia will hold Presidential elections on 18 March, 2018. Thus far the only eligible candidate with free access to the race to declare his candidacy is political veteran Vladimir Zhirinovsky who leads the LDPR (ЛДПР), formerly known as the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia.
Recent polls have shown that a comfortable majority of Russians would support the incumbent President Vladimir Putin should he decide to run in next year’s elections.
This week, President Putin held one of his famous marathon Q & A sessions for an audience of school children where he was asked about whether he will declare himself a candidate.
The Russian President responded in the following way,
“I have not decided yet whether I should continue my work in this role, I will see. The elections will take place in 2018, there’s still time before the campaign begins – we’ll see”.
In accordance with Russian law, parties which are represented in the State Duma or have representation in over 1/3rd of regional legislative bodies can enter Presidential elections with what is called ‘free access’. This means they simply have to declare their candidacy and fill out the appropriate forms and they are on the ballot.
Members of smaller parties must collect 105,000 signatures from ordinary citizens to get on the ballot while those seeking to run as independent candidates must collect 315,000 signatures.
While certain publications continue to speculate on whether Putin will run or not, it is important to remember that no such indications have been made. Reports to the contrary are fake news. Western media outlets which indicate that a decision has been made, run the danger of negatively interfering in the democratic process of Russian elections and are open to legitimate accusations in meddling in Russia’s internal affairs.
Now watch all 2 hours and 47 minutes of the child friendly edition of President Putin’s Q & A session.