Prokhorov submits signatures in Russian presidency bid

18th January 2012, Comments 0 comments

Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov on Wednesday submitted two million signatures from supporters in order to register as a candidate in the March presidential poll against Vladimir Putin.

Wednesday was the final day for independent candidates wishing to run against current prime minister Putin to submit the required two million signatures to the Central Election Comission.

Grigory Yavlinsky of the liberal Yabloko party, and Dmitry Mezentsev, the governor of Siberia's Irkutsk region, seen as a token candidate, also submitted the required number of signatures, a commission spokesman told AFP.

He said the commission would take 10 days to examine the signatures before making an official decision on whether to register the candidates for the March 4 vote.

Prokhorov, 46, said Tuesday he was aiming to force Putin into a second round, although the latest opinion poll by the independent Levada institute found that only three percent planned to vote for him.

Some critics believe Prokhorov will be running as a Kremlin-friendly candidate to soak up opposition to Putin and his criticism of the prime minister himself has been muted.

Putin would be forced to go into a run-off if he fails to win 50 percent plus one vote in the first round, with his closest rival likely to be Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov.

A total of seven candidates may stand in the election. Four candidates -- Putin, Zyuganov, Sergei Mironov of A Just Russia party and Vladimir Zhirinovsky of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia -- have already been registered.

© 2012 AFP

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