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Russia presidential election set for March 17, 2024

By AFP - Dec 07,2023 - Last updated at Dec 07,2023

In this photograph distributed by Russian news agency Sputnik on Thursday, Russia's President Vladimir Putin waits to meet with Iran's president in the Kremlin, in Moscow (AFP photo)

MOSCOW — Russia's upper house of parliament on Thursday set March 17, 2024 as the date for the next presidential election, in which longtime President Vladimir Putin is widely expected to run again.

In a meeting televised live, the senators unanimously approved the date in a decision that "practically kicks off the presidential campaign", according to the head of the chamber, Valentina Matvienko.

Putin, who has been in power in Russia either as president or prime minister since 2000, has not officially announced if he will stand in the vote, but is widely expected to do so.

The election will take place two years after Russia launched what it calls a special military operation in Ukraine in February 2022 and later annexed the Ukrainian regions of Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

The election "will be a sort of culmination of reunification" for the regions, Matvienko said.

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