Number of presidential candidates likely to decrease

Chairman of the Russian Federation's Central Election Commission Alexander Veshnyakov calls upon the election commissions in the regions not to hurry with printing ballot-papers.

"Put the printing of the ballot-papers off. The candidates may number not seven but six or five," Veshnyakov said in Kazan. According to him, "prerequisites for such a variant do exist, but the number (of candidates) is sure to be at least five."

It may take the election commissions great efforts to cross the candidates, who have renounced the participation in the elections, out of more than 100 million ballot-papers.

As of today, incumbent president of Russia Vladimir Putin, nominees from the KPRF and the LDPR Nikolai Kharitonov and Oleg Malyshkin, speaker of the Federation Council (the Russian parliament's upper chamber) Sergei Mironov, ex-head of the Russian Federation's Security Council Ivan Rybkin, leader of the Rodina faction in the State Duma Sergei Glazyev, and former co-chairperson of the Union of Right Forces Irina Khamada have been registered as candidates to the post of president of the country as of today.

The elections have been set for March 14, 2004.

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