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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

CEC Releases Campaign Funds Data

The Central Election Commission on Tuesday released information on the campaign funds of the candidates running in next month's presidential election, showing that acting President Vladimir Putin has the most money to spend on his campaign.

Putin, the clear front-runner in the race, has some 25 million rubles ($870,000) in campaign funds, chief election commissioner Alexander Veshnyakov said.

His closest rival, Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, follows with 15 million rubles, and Kemerovo region Governor Aman Tuleyev is third with 13 million rubles.

Each candidate gets between 400,000 rubles and 500,000 rubles from the election commission and the rest comes from contributors, Veshnyakov said.

Yabloko party leader Grigory Yavlinsky has only 500,000 rubles in his fund, apparently having raised little money for his campaign.

Under election law, a presidential candidate can spend no more than 26 million rubles on the campaign, with the amount calculated based on the minimum wage. The money must be held in an account in state-owned Sberbank. If a runoff is necessary, each candidate can spend 8 million rubles more.

Veshnyakov said the election commission will hold a lottery Thursday to distribute free air time on the country's two major state television channels. Each candidate will get about one hour on ORT and one hour on RTR television, he said.

The televised campaigning officially begins March 3.

The chief election commissioner confirmed that special elections to fill empty seats in the State Duma, parliament's lower house, will also be held March 26.

After the Dec. 19 vote, elections in eight single-mandate districts were declared invalid because more voters voted for none of the above than for any single candidate.

Veshnyakov said a total of 122 candidates are running in the eight districts.

In a Primorye district, former Vladivostok Mayor Viktor Cherepkov is expected to run, while in the Leningrad region, controversial television commentator Alexander Nevzorov plans to run against Gennady Seleznyov, an obscure candidate who has the same name as the Duma speaker.

In the Mytishchi district in the Moscow region, Sergei Baburin, a deputy speaker in the previous Duma, is up against television journalist Andrei Karaulov, former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Fyodorov and businessman Alexander Tikhonov. The last two candidates ran unsuccessfully for Moscow region governor.

Albert Makashov, a hard-line member of the previous Duma who has made repeated anti-Semitic remarks and was barred from running in last December's election from Samara, has been cleared to try again from the Sverdlovsk region.

Makashov was banned because the election commission said his supporters paid for campaign leaflets in cash. The law requires that campaign expenses be paid from a government-supervised bank account.