Vladimir Putin wins Russian Presidential election, re-elected for another term

Elias Hubbard
March 20, 2018

Mr Putin's campaign had hoped for a large turnout, to give him the strongest possible mandate.

The Kremlin needs high voter numbers to give greater legitimacy to a new mandate for Putin as Russian Federation faces increasing isolation over a spy poisoning in Britain and a fresh round of USA sanctions.

His most vocal political opponent, Alexei Navalny, was barred from running in the election because of an embezzlement conviction that he says was created to keep him off the ballot.

Xi has drawn comparison with Putin as the Chinese leader has consolidated power and gained a path to indefinite rule after the rubber-stamp National People's Congress lifted presidential term limits last week.

"What percentage of the vote would you consider for yourself successful?" a journalist asked Putin in a sign of the day's major drama. During the 2012 presidential elections, 65.3 percent of voters turned up to the polls.

"I voted for our liberator, Putin", said Alexander Kiryukhin, a 79-year-old in the city of Simferopol, Crimea.

Yet it might feel that long for his opponents after an election victory that has ensured by 2024, only Joseph Stalin will have served longer at the helm of post-imperial Russian Federation.

The higher the support for Putin in Sunday's vote, "the tougher the system" Russians will face in his new term, Sobchak told reporters after voting.

"What, am I going to sit here until I am 100 years old?" "After he brought Crimea back, he became a hero to me".

Western sanctions on Russia imposed over Crimea and Moscow's backing of a pro-Russian separatist uprising in eastern Ukraine remain in place and have damaged the Russian economy, which only rebounded a year ago after a prolonged downturn.

Selfie competitions, giveaways, food festivals and children's entertainers were laid on at polling stations to entice voters.

But Navalny, who risks 30 days in jail for organising illegal protests, urged a boycott.

Election authorities said turnout nationwide Sunday was about 52 percent at 5 p.m. Moscow time. Navalny has deployed more than 33,000 observers, with his team branding the vote "a staged procedure to reappoint Putin".

Putin took over the presidency following the chaotic rule of Boris Yeltsin, who stepped down in 2000.

Putin obtained more than 76 percent of the vote, according to official results, though the independent election watchdog (Movement for Defence of Voters" Rights, or "Golos') reported irregularities ranging from ballot papers being found in ballot boxes before voting started, to obstruction of cameras in polling stations. "I will not go to vote".

"It's clear to everyone who will be elected".

Putin's re-election comes at a time when the United Kingdom and several other nations have accused his government of perpetrating a nerve agent attack on a former double agent in Salisbury. In response, London expelled 23 Russian diplomats, prompting a tit-for-tat move by Moscow. "As far as the economy is concerned, everything is bad".

"Putin has made our army great again", said Viktor, 55, outside a polling station in Moscow.

"How would we live without him?"

But, he says, "we are worryingly far away from that goal today".

Russian authorities had appealed to patriotic feelings by holding Sunday's election on the anniversary of Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula - so tensions in Ukraine clouded the presidential vote.

But observers reported widespread ballot stuffing and unprecedented pressure on Russians to vote.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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