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Russia Sets Presidential Poll Date

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is widely expected to win next year's presidential election.
The upper house of Russia's parliament says that the country's presidential election will be held March 4 of next year.

The ITAR-TASS news agency reports that the senate unanimously backed the date.

An official from the Central Electoral Commission had initially announced an election date in July, based on electoral rules.

Meanwhile, in related news, the Reuters news agency has reported that, according to Russia's biggest independent pollster, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's ruling party is likely to get a far smaller majority in upcoming parliamentary elections on December 4.

Based on its last major opinion poll before the election, Levada-Center said Putin's United Russia party would win about 252-253 places in the 450-seat lower house of parliament, down from the 315 seats it has now.

The polling agency predicted that the Communist Party would come second with about 94 seats.

It also predicted that nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia would come third, winning 59 seats, followed by the Just Russia party with 44 seats.

compiled from agency reports