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DATE=1/13/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=RUSSIA POLITICS (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-258045 BYLINE=BILL GASPERINI DATELINE=MOSCOW CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Russia's acting president, Vladimir Putin, has formally accepted his nomination to run for the job full-time in a special election scheduled for March. Bill Gasperini has the details from Moscow. TEXT: Acting President Putin chose an awards ceremony in Russia's second city, St. Petersburg, to confirm that he is running for president. /// Putin Act in Russian, fade under /// "I didn't plan on doing this now," he says, "but on this festive occasion, I'd like to say that I accept with satisfaction and gratitude this suggestion, and will take part in the electoral campaign." The 47-year-old former intelligence chief has been acting president since Boris Yeltsin's surprise resignation on New Year's Eve. Mr. Putin has long indicated he would be a candidate to win the presidency in his own right. But it was not until Wednesday that he was formally nominated by a group of influential supporters. The election is due to be held March 26th, and Mr. Putin appears to be the favorite to win. He has been riding high in the public opinion polls for months. According to the latest polls, his approval rating is close to 60 percent. The acting leader received another boost when his chief rival signaled he will not be running for president against Mr. Putin. Instead, former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov says he plans to run for speaker of the Duma, or Parliament. Mr. Primakov has also fared well in the opinion polls, but his party suffered badly in parliamentary elections last month. The only other declared presidential candidates so far are Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, ultra- nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky and liberal reformer Grigory Yavlinsky. But analysts agree that none of these three has a realistic chance of beating Mr. Putin in March. (Signed) NEB/BG/GE/JP 13-Jan-2000 13:32 PM EDT (13-Jan-2000 1832 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .