'Lots of people' are urging Putin to run in presidential election -Kremlin
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FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a ceremony to receive diplomatic credentials from newly appointed foreign ambassadors at the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Russia, December 4, 2023. Sputnik/Vyacheslav Prokofyev/Pool
MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin said on Friday that "lots of people" were urging President Vladimir Putin to run for a new six-year term in March, and that Putin would announce his decision "when he deems it appropriate".
Russia's Central Election Commission said on Friday that the election would for the first time be held over three days - from March 15-17.
Putin, who will hold his annual press conference and field questions from the public on Dec. 14, is widely expected to run again. Six sources told Reuters last month that the 71-year-old had decided to stand, a move that would keep him in power until at least 2030.
With opposition politician Alexei Navalny in a prison colony and other critics abroad following a sustained crackdown on them, Putin faces no serious political competition at home.
When asked on Friday about the outcome of a survey conducted by a state-backed pollster in which 70% of respondents were recorded as saying that Putin should run for another term, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said:
"Putin will announce it (his decision) when he deems it appropriate and expedient. It will be entirely his decision. Putin has always relied on the people's support in his work. His main interest is to improve the well-being and living standards of our people."
Peskov added that Russians from all over the country and in different age categories had been in touch ahead of Putin's question and answer session with the public next week to express their support.
"Very many people are calling on Putin to run for office and continue as head of state, declaring their full support. This is noticeable," said Peskov.
(Reporting by Dmitry Antonov; Editing by Andrew Osborn)
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