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By Staff Reporter : PNG Today

Russia Presidential Election: Vladimir Putin wins by big margin

Vladimir Putin will lead Russia for another six years, after securing an expected victory in the presidential election.

With 50% of the vote counted he had received 75% of the vote, the central election commission said.

The main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, was barred from the race.

Addressing a rally in Moscow after the early results were declared, Mr Putin said voters had "recognised the achievements of the last few years".

The scale of victory - which had been widely predicted - appears to be a marked increase in his share of the vote from 2012, when he won 64%.

Mr Putin's nearest competitor, Pavel Grudinin, had received 13.2% so far, according to the central election commission.

Mr Grudinin is a millionaire communist, but the race also included a former reality television host, Ksenia Sobchak, and veteran nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

A state exit poll put the turnout at 63.7%, down on 2012. Mr Putin's campaign had hoped for a large turnout, to give him the strongest possible mandate.

His campaign team said it was an "incredible victory".

"The percentage that we have just seen speaks for itself. It's a mandate which Putin needs for future decisions, and he has a lot of them to make," a spokesman told Russia's Interfax.

In some areas, free food and discounts in local shops were on offer near polling stations.

Video recordings from polling stations showed irregularities in a number of towns and cities across Russia. Several showed election officials stuffing boxes with ballot papers.

Videos taken from the election commission's live stream of polling stations also appeared to show some instances of officials stuffing ballots into boxes.

In Dagestan, one election official said he was prevented from doing his job by a crowd of men who blocked the ballot box.

But Ella Pamfilova, head of the Central Electoral Commission, said no serious violations had been registered yet.

"We have analysed and monitored everything we could, everything that has arrived. Thank goodness, it's all rather modest so far," she told a commission meeting while speaking about violations.

She had earlier said that anyone involved in violations would be caught.

Sunday's vote was also the first in Crimea since Russia seized the region from Ukraine. Mr Putin was scheduled to speak at a rally scheduled for the fourth anniversary of the annexation - the same day as the election.

The annexation was bitterly contested by Kiev and ratcheted up tensions between Russia and the West. Russians living in Ukraine were unable to take part in Sunday's vote because access to Russian diplomatic missions was blocked by the Kiev government.

     
Source: BBC

Posted by Staff Reporter : PNG Today on 10:00 PM. Filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Share this Article

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