As Russia’s vast territory encompasses nine time zones, voting first began in its Far Eastern regions, including Kamchatka and Chukotka, at 8:00 a.m. local time (20:00 GMT on March 17), while voters in other parts of the Russian territory still have to wait for several hours to vote. Voters in Kaliningrad, the westmost exclave of Russia, will be the last to go to the polls, which will close at 20:00 (1800 GMT) p.m. local time on March 18. According to Ella Pamfilova, the head of the Russian Central Election Commission (CEC), some 110 million Russian citizens are eligible to vote, about 1.89 million of them live abroad. There are more than 97,000 domestic polling stations, and more than 400 overseas stations. The voting procedure will be monitored by about 1,500 international observers from 109 countries. The eight candidates running for the election are incumbent Russian President Vladimir Putin, who participates as an independent candidate, Vladimir Zhirinovsky from the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), and businessman Pavel Grudinin nominated by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF). Other candidates include Grigory Yavlinsky from Yabloko party, leader of the Party of Growth Boris Titov, head of the Russian All-People Union Sergey Baburin, TV host Ksenia Sobchak and head of the Communists of Russia Maxim Suraikin.