07MOSCOW5529, RUSSIA: PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION SET FOR MARCH 2

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW5529 2007-11-26 16:10 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO5543
PP RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHPOD RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #5529/01 3301610
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 261610Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5453
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 005529 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV KDEM RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIA: PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION SET FOR MARCH 2 
 
 
------- 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1. (U) A week before Russians head to the polls to vote in 
the State Duma elections, the Federation Council passed a 
resolution naming March 2, 2008 as the date of the 
presidential election.  The unanimous decision by the upper 
house of parliament was expected and will become official 
when it is published within the next five days in Russia's 
state newspaper.  The registration process for presidential 
candidates will follow closely on the heels of the Duma 
elections.  More than half a dozen candidates have announced 
their intention to run for president; the potential pool of 
presidential candidates will be known by December 25.  The 
process is weighted against independent candidates and those 
not backed by a party represented in the Duma.  End summary. 
 
---------------------------------------- 
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION TO BE HELD MARCH 2 
---------------------------------------- 
 
2. (U) Members of the Federation Council voted unanimously 
November 26, to set March 2, 2008 as the date of the 
presidential election. The timing of the election is governed 
by the law on presidential elections.  Typically, the second 
Sunday of March is election day in Russia, which in 2008, 
would be March 9.  However, under the law, there is a 
provision that permits the election to be moved up a week if 
the second Sunday in March follows a holiday.  Since March 8 
is International Women's Day, a holiday in Russia, March 2 
will become the official date of the 2008 presidential 
election when the order is published in Russia's state 
newspaper, Rossiiskaya Gazeta.  Publication must occur within 
five days of the Federation Council vote. 
 
-------------------------- 
WHO CAN RUN FOR PRESIDENT? 
-------------------------- 
 
3. (U) The parties that win seats in the upcoming State Duma 
elections (December 2) will be allowed to nominate 
presidential candidates without having to collect and submit 
signatures to the Central Election Commission (CEC). Parties 
that are not successful in the Duma elections are required to 
collect no fewer than two million signatures.  No more than 
50,000 of the total number of signatures can be from one 
subject (designated region) of the country. Signatures can 
come from Russians living abroad but that number cannot 
exceed 50,000.  Supporters of self-nominated candidates can 
apply to the CEC for registration on their candidate's 
behalf.  Any group of supporters must comprise no fewer than 
500 members.  These candidates also are required to submit no 
less than 2 million signatures.  Unlike the State Duma 
elections, it is not possible to make a monetary deposit in 
lieu of collecting signatures.  Presidential candidates must 
be citizens who are 35 years or older and have continuously 
resided in the Russian Federation for no less than 10 years. 
Announced presidential candidates to date include: Garry 
Kasparov, Grigoriy Yavlinskiy, Gennadiy Zyuganov, Vladimir 
Zhirinovskiy, Nikolay Kuryanovich, Vladimir Bukovskiy, 
Mikhail Kasaynov and Boris Nemtsov. 
 
------------------------------ 
PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN TIMELINE 
------------------------------ 
 
4. (U) Upon publication of the order establishing March 2, 
2008 as the date of the election, self-nominated candidates 
have 20 days to submit documents announcing their intention 
to run for president, including a list of 500 members of the 
group supporting their candidacy. Within five days, the CEC 
will make its decision to register the group. Candidates 
nominated by a political party have 25 days within which 
representatives of the party must submit to the CEC their 
party congress's nominee and a list of the candidate's 
authorized representatives. Each registered party can 
nominate one candidate. Within five days, the CEC will make 
its decision to register representatives of the candidate 
(those people who are authorized to work on behalf of the 
candidate). 
 
5. (U) Self-nominated candidates and the candidates of 
non-parliamentary political parties must collect and submit 
two million signatures of supporters to the CEC no earlier 
than 80 days before the election (December 12) and no later 
than 45 days before the election (January 16).  Upon receipt 
of the signatures, the CEC has 10 days to verify the list. If 
more than five percent of signatures are found to be invalid, 
the candidate is ineligible to run.  Candidates can challenge 
the CEC findings in court and the court must make its ruling 
 
MOSCOW 00005529  002 OF 002 
 
 
within five days.  If less than 2 candidates are registered 
to run for president, the election can be postponed for up to 
60 days. 
 
6. (U) According to CEC Chairman Churov, who attended the 
Federation Council session, the nomination process will be 
completed by December 25 and the registration process by 
January 16. The official campaign, during which candidates 
can actively campaign, including running advertising in the 
mass media, will take place February 2 - February 29, 2008. 
 
------- 

COMMENT 
------- 
 
7. (SBU) The system of presidential elections is such that it 
is difficult for independent candidates or candidates not 
supported by parliamentary political parties to be 
registered.  The short deadline, the large number of 
signatures required and the strict and selective standard 
applied to verification of signatures are difficult barriers 
for all but the most organized and established candidates to 
overcome. 
 
 
 
 
BURNS

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