The Russian president has been put forward as a party nominee only once in his 20-year political career
Russian President Vladimir Putin has won the backing of a group of voters who have declared their support for his bid to seek reelection next year as an independent candidate. Putin, who is aiming for his fifth term in office, has run only once as a party nominee, in 2012.
On Saturday, a large group of Putin’s supporters, including members of several Russian political parties, opinion leaders, artists and athletes, gathered in Zaryadye Hall in downtown Moscow to officially announce the creation of an action group to nominate the incumbent Russian leader. Putin himself was not present.
Russian law mandates that a person must gain the support of a group comprising at least 500 people in order to run as an independent.
After reaching the required quorum, the meeting then proceeded to unanimously support Putin’s candidacy. When asked whether they back his nomination, the entire audience stood up, waiving red leaflets and voicing their support, according to videos shared by local media outlets.
Meanwhile, Andrey Turchak, the secretary of the General Council of the ruling United Russia party, said that a campaign headquarters would be formed once all nomination procedures are over.
The Russian president announced his reelection bid last week at a ceremony where he awarded Hero of Russia medals to servicemen who had taken part in the military operation against Ukraine. At the time, he was asked to run by the chairman of the parliament of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Artyom Zhoga, who is also a decorated veteran of the conflict in Donbass. Zhoga praised the Russian president for his efforts to help the region to break free from Ukrainian rule. He also said that not only Donbass, but the entire country “needs” Putin as its leader.
The DPR, along with three other former Ukrainian territories, overwhelmingly voted in public referendums to join Russia last autumn.
Putin has run for president four times, with three of his campaigns being as an independent. The only exception was in 2012, when he was nominated by the United Russia party.
The presidential election in Russia will be held over March 15-17, 2024, while the inauguration will be in early May. Putin’s rivals are likely to include Gennady Zyuganov, the long-time leader of the Communist Party, while other parties, including the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) and New People, have also signaled plans to put forward candidates.
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