700 observers to monitor Russian presidential poll

A group of 29 officials from PACE are also scheduled to arrive in Moscow to monitor the poll.

Moscow: Around 700 international observers will arrive in Russia to monitor the March 4 presidential elections, a top election official said Thursday.

Currently, 667 international observers are accredited. Of them, 219 are from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe;s (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, 231 from the CIS mission, 44 from the CIS Council International Assembly, 37 from the EU Council Parliamentary Assembly, and eight from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, said Central Electoral Commission chief Vladimir Churov.

A group of 29 officials from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) are also scheduled to arrive in Moscow to monitor the poll.

Members of the PACE monitoring mission, headed by Dutch leftist politician Tiny Kox, are expected to meet presidential candidates and election authorities in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Arkhangelsk and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsk prior to the elections.

Five candidates -- Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, nationalist LDPR party head Vladimir Zhirinovsky, A Just Russia party leader Sergei Mironov and billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov - will compete for Russia`s presidency in the March 4 vote.