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  Tuesday, December 10, 2019
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The leaders of the ultranationalist LDPR party and the Communist Party
The leaders of the ultranationalist LDPR party and the Communist Party are the first party nominees to be formally registered for Russia's presidential elections on March 2.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who heads the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), and longtime Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov will run for the presidency for the fourth and third time respectively. They both missed the 2004 elections that saw a landslide victory for President Vladimir Putin.

Another contender put forward by a party with parliamentary seats is First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Nominated by the ruling United Russia party and backed by the highly-popular president, Medvedev is seen as a front-runner.

A deputy prime minister in the 1990s, Boris Nemtsov, who was nominated by the liberal opposition Union of Right Forces, or the SPS, said earlier on Wednesday he was withdrawing from the race to make way for the sole democratic opposition candidate, Mikhail Kasyanov.

Nemtsov, who condemned the use of administrative resources by the Kremlin to promote its candidate, called on Kasyanov, the leader of the Russian People's Democratic Union, and Zyuganov to fight for equal campaign conditions.

Zhirinovsky, often portrayed as a fierce critic of the government, and his party generally support Kremlin initiatives in parliament.

Kasyanov, and the other independent candidate, Democratic Party of Russia leader Andrei Bogdanov, still need to provide at least 2 million signatures in support of their nominations before January 16 in order to receive permission to run in the presidential elections.


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