Russian Observers Charge Fraud in Putin's Landslide Re-Election

19 March, 2018, 16:28 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Vladimir Putin wins fourth presidential term gains massive mandate by clinching 77% of votes

As of 9:00 a.m. Moscow Time, 99.83 percent of votes have been counted; the incumbent Russian President Vladimir Putin wins in the current presidential election with a result of 76.66 percent, the chairman of the Russian Central Election Commission Ella Pamfilova said.

In an outcome that was never in doubt, the Central Election Commission, with almost 100 percent of the votes counted, announced that Putin, who has run Russian Federation as president or prime minister since 1999, had won 76.66 percent of the vote.

Addressing a rally in Moscow, Putin said the voters had "recognised the achievements of the last few years".

"It's very important to maintain this unity", said Putin, before leading the crowd in repeated chants of "Russia!".

"Our people always comes together at hard times, so many thanks to some of the leaders - I won't name them - of Western states, who also made their positive contribution" in helping consolidate the electorate, she told reporters in Moscow on Monday.

Backed by state TV and the ruling party, and credited with an approval rating around 80%, he faced no credible threat from a field of seven challengers.

Meanwhile, Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin is in the second place with 11.87 per cent of the vote, followed by head of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Vladimir Zhirinovsky with 5.73 per cent, Civil Initiative party candidate Ksenia Sobchak with 1.64 per, according to the CEC.

Putin's fiercest political opponent, Alexei Navalny, had been barred from competing because of an embezzlement conviction that he said was manufactured by the Kremlin, reports the BBC.

Putin's campaign spokesman Andrei Kondrashov said that at more than 67 percent, turnout was 8 to 10 percentage points higher than expected "thanks to Britain".

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The previous election record was set by Dmitry Medvedev in 2008, who won 52.5 million votes with just under 70 per cent turnout.

The result was a vindication of his tough stance towards the West, Putin loyalists said.

A polling station employee hangs a list of candidates for the 2018 Russian presidential election during preparations for the election at a polling station in St.Petersburg, Russia, March 16, 2018.

Valentina Matviyenko, speaker of the upper house, hailed the victory as a moral one over the West.

Golos, an election-monitoring organization, said it registered more than 1,500 violations in regions across Russian Federation. "People came together. No other country in the world has such open and transparent elections".

He called for a boycott of the election.

The longer-term question is whether Putin will now soften his anti-Western rhetoric.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov played down suggestions on Monday that tensions with the West had boosted turnout, saying the result showed that people were united behind Putin's plans to develop Russian Federation.

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