President Vladimir Putin and eight individuals have been officially confirmed to run for Russia’s March 18 presidential elections, the Central Election Commission said Thursday. The names of the eight candidates will be arranged in alphabetical order on the ballots, it said. For registering as an independent presidential candidate, an aspiring contestant had to collect at least 300,000 voters’ signatures by February 1, at the same time, a candidate from a political party needed to collect minimum 100,000 signatures. Putin, who is on his third term, is widely expected to have a landslide victory as he reportedly enjoys a much higher approval rating than his rivals.
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