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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

6 Candidates Will Run for President

APA nesting doll of Putin and Medvedev at a Moscow street vendor's stand.
Six candidates will run in the presidential election, including three independents, the Central Elections Commission said Sunday, the deadline for submitting the last applications.

On Saturday, the commission rejected seven requests from independent candidates, including Vladimir Bukovsky, a Soviet-era dissident and writer who lives in Britain.

Approved to run in the March 2 election are First Deputy Prime Ministry Dmitry Medvedev, Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, Union of Right Forces leader Boris Nemtsov and Democratic Party leader Andrei Bogdanov, the commission said.

Medvedev's candidacy was backed by the pro-Kremlin parties United Russia and A Just Russia, while Zyuganov and Zhirinovsky were nominated by their parties. The four parties are the only ones in the State Duma and, therefore, their candidates won automatic approval from the elections commission.

The other three candidates now have to collect 2 million signatures in support of their bids and submit them to the commission by Jan. 16.

The commission denied Bukovsky's application on three counts: He has not lived in Russia for the past 10 years, as required of presidential candidates; he holds a British residency permit; and he failed to prove that his occupation is writer, according to a copy of the decision posted on Bukovsky's campaign web site.

Bukovsky called the decision politically motivated. "The Chekist regime failed to accept our challenge, having retreated cowardly behind the barbed wire of legal scholastic," he said in a statement from his home in Cambridge, Britain.

Yabloko decided earlier this month to back Bukovsky's candidacy, and Saturday's decision means that it will ask its members to boycott the election.

Medvedev is expected to easily win the election after President Vladimir Putin blessed his candidacy.

In a separate development, Putin has replaced an outspoken member of the Central Elections Commission with the deputy head of his administration's domestic politics department, Leonid Ivlev, the Kremlin said Friday.

The former member, Igor Fyodorov, who was also a Putin appointee, resigned, citing poor health.

Kommersant said the change would strengthen the Kremlin's control over the commission's decision-making process.