Under Russian law, independent candidates are required to have at least 300,000 registered supporters.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s campaign office said Wednesday he had gathered over two million signatures in support of his candidacy in the March presidential election.
As Putin has put his name forward as an independent candidate, he is required by Russian law to have at least 300 thousand registered supporters from 40 regions or more in order to get on the ballot.
“If desired, much more signatures can be collected for Putin, many times more signatures,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
“Because the level of support for the president, the level of consolidation of society around him, which includes a wide variety of age categories, can hardly be exaggerated.”
The election commission has already approved three candidates for the ballot who were nominated by parties represented in parliament and therefore weren’t required to collect signatures.
But none of them pose a significant challenge to Putin. He has dominated Russian politics since becoming president in 2000, and their parties are largely supportive of legislation backed by the president’s power-base, the United Russia party.
Activists from United Russia party have been gathering signatures for Putin in the Russian-controlled parts of eastern Ukraine.
The tight control over Russia’s political system that Putin has established over his 24 years in power makes his re-election in March all but assured.
Prominent critics who could challenge him in the polls are either in jail or living abroad, and most independent media have been banned.
Under constitutional reforms orchestrated by Putin, he is eligible to seek two more six-year terms after his current one expires this year, potentially allowing him to remain in power until 2036.