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Putin urges Russians to vote in upcoming presidential election

MOSCOW | Xinhua | Russian President Vladimir Putin has encouraged Russian citizens to participate in the upcoming presidential election scheduled for March 15-17, TASS news agency reported Thursday.

“It is necessary to confirm our unity and determination to move forward together. Each of your votes is valuable and significant. Therefore, I urge you to exercise your right to vote in the next three days,” Putin said in a recorded video message.

He said polling stations will be open in every city, town and village, reminding Russians that they are one family.

“Dear friends! All of us, the multinational people of Russia, are one big family,” he said.

“We will do everything exactly the way we want. Therefore, I ask you to come to the elections and express your civic and patriotic position, vote for your chosen candidate, for the successful future of our beloved Russia,” Putin said.

Four candidates will vie for the top position: Leonid Slutsky of the Liberal Democratic Party, Nikolai Kharitonov of the Communist Party, Vladislav Davankov of the New People Party, and Vladimir Putin, the incumbent and an independent candidate.

Meanwhile, early voting in Russia’s presidential election is taking place abroad without any incidents, over 40,000 people have already cast their ballots, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

“Early voting is underway. It has already taken place in 23 countries, and 29 election commissions are supervising it. As of March 12, more than 40,000 Russians have already voted,” the diplomat said. “Voting is taking place without any serious incidents,” she pointed out.

According to the spokeswoman, local Russian officials are ready to provide any assistance at the first request of their fellow citizens.

The Russian Federation Council, or upper house of parliament, officially designated March 17, 2024 as the day of the presidential election. The Russian Central Election Commission (CEC) then announced that voting will take place over three days on March 15-17, making it Russia’s first three-day presidential election. ■

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