Russian presidential election, one without guess

March 1st, 2008 - 2:03 pm ICT by admin  

By Liu Yifang
Moscow, March 1 (Xinhua) After nearly 17 years of independence, the Russian people are facing another historical choice when they vote to choose their third president Sunday. The popular President Vladimir Putin is constitutionally barred from a third consecutive term. However, little suspense has been left about the future president although four candidates are in the fray.

With Putin’s support and lack of competitive opponent, the ruling United Russia Party’s candidate Dmitry Medvedev is almost guaranteed to win.

Medvedev’s victory would guarantee the continuation of Putin’s current policies and an envisaged future power structure, for pursuit of a stable society.

Under Putin’s eight-year leadership, Russia has revitalised as a promising world power with stable political situations, a prosperous economy and confident citizens.

Putin is popular among people, who now look to the future with greater optimism and confidence than at any time over the past two decades. Under Putin, real wages have tripled and unemployment has fallen sharply.

As Putin’s anointed heir, the 42-year-old Medvedev was soon in the spotlight after the incumbent president publicly announced that he supported Medvedev’s candidacy at the end of last year.

Various opinion polls show the ruling party’s candidate would win between 60 and 80 percent of the vote.

Medvedev, the first deputy prime minister, leads Kremlin initiatives to fix housing, health care, education and agriculture. As the supervisor of national projects, he is generally seen as a “socially oriented” politician.

After long years of collaboration, Putin regarded Medvedev as an honest, efficient and mature statesman with modern and independent thinking - the one that fits Putin’s criteria.

Putin said he didn’t need to be “shamed or worried” about passing him the highest power of the state. “He will be a good president,” Putin said.

Medvedev has promised to continue Putin’s policies if he is elected president and he would appoint Putin as prime minister, which has been accepted by the president.

Medvedev as Russia’s new president and Putin as prime minister “is the real foundation of political stability for many years ahead”, Leonid Polyakov, a scholar of the higher school of economics, said in an interview in December.

Huge gap exists between Medvedev and the other three candidates in the percentage of support, which shows most Russian people approve of what Putin has done in office.

According to the latest opinion poll published by the Russian media, Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov will win 15.1 percent of the vote, Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky 10.9 percent and Andrei Bogdanov, the leader of the Democratic Party, about one percent. Who will be the winner is easy to see from the numbers.

Putin said last month that his goal is turning Russia into world’s No 5 economy by 2020.

With one day left for Russian voters to ratify Medvedev as the country’s next president, most people wait for a future president to maintain stability, address crucial social needs and enhance Russia’s role as a major world power.
Xinhua

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