Russia’s upper house of parliament set the date for the presidential election as March 18, in Moscow on Friday. The decision kick-started the election process for candidates, as it signaled the official start to the campaigning timeline. The decision followed a vote in the Russian upper chamber of parliament. «The Federation Council has fulfilled its constitutional mandate”, said Russia's upper... Еще house of parliament speaker Valentina Matvienko adding, «we have given a start to the presidential election campaign and set the election’s date.» Senators state that the decree will come into effect after it is officially published in the mass media, which should be no earlier than December 18. Only after its publication can parties officially hold pre-election meetings. According to the chairperson of the Russian Central Election Commission Ella Pamfilova, presidential election laws have been «broadly liberalised.» Pamfilova listed a «serious competitive environment» and «increased opportunities» of election observers who will be «no longer attached to a single polling station» among the strong points of the upcoming elections. The chairperson also outlined how ordinary citizens will have access to an «unprecedented» video monitoring system from the polls, which would be available online. «There is nothing like it in the world,» she assured. Pamfilova concluded by saying that the Russian electoral system has «very serious advantages» over «so-called developed democracies.» «The elector's vote directly influences the outcome of presidential election. Other countries do not have it,» she said.