Landslide Positions Putin To Dominate Russia For 6 More Years

Landslide Positions Putin To Dominate Russia For 6 More Years

Moscow, Mar 19 Vladimir Putin today faced another six years in power after a record win in Russia's presidential election, but congratulations from overseas were largely muted after opponents accused him of rigging the vote and Moscow's relations with the West worsened.

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%.

Russians were voting on Sunday in a presidential election set to hand Vladimir Putin a record fourth term, with officials reporting strong turnout but the opposition crying foul.

Natalia Lobzhanidze is the director of School no. 3 in Ust-Djeguta, in the Karachayevo-Cherkessia region of southern Russian Federation, which is hosting polling station number 215.

Other footage from polling booths in Chechnya showed a man calmly stuffing ballot boxes with papers as he greeted people.

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

In the polls, Director of the Lenin State Farm Pavel Grudinin, nominated by the Communist Party of Russian Federation, stood in the second position with 11.82% of the vote.

Observers including opposition leader Alexei Navalny's representatives, the Golos monitoring group and ordinary Russians posted images online of apparent voting violations.

Residents of Crimea voted for the first time in Russian presidential elections.

The commission said 51.9% of Russia's almost 111 million eligible voters have cast ballots.

The 65-year-old is now likely to dominate Russian politics for at least another six years.

Results for all other candidates, including former reality TV host Ksenia Sobchak and ultra-nationalist firebrand Vladimir Zhirinovsky were forecast to be in single figures.

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Ella Pamfilova, head of the commission organising the vote nationwide, has said any fraud would be stamped out.

"We will think about the future of our great Motherland", he said, before leading the crowd in repeated chants of "Russia!".

The Russian doctor said she wouldn't go to vote if she wasn't forced to.

Mr. Putin's victory, which would see him lead the country through 2024, comes at a time when his relationship with the West is on a hostile strait.

"The election result in Russian Federation surprised us just as little as the circumstances of this election,"Â Maas said, explaining that the political contest was not entirely fair".

After the victory, Putin's campaign spokesperson Andrei Kondrashov credited British Prime Minister Theresa May with the unexpectedly high turnout, saying: "Every time they accuse us of something unfounded, Russian Federation unites".

Government employees, as well as workers as private companies, have reported coming under pressure to vote.

The vote was a huge logistical undertaking, taking place across Russia's 11 time zones over 22 hours, in around 97,000 polling stations, according to the Central Election Commission.

At polling station number 217 in Ust-Djeguta, two 18-year-old students case their ballots.

The election was such a foregone conclusion that Putin gave only a perfunctory victory speech and said nothing about what he will do for his country.

It was "unacceptable" that the Russian election also took place in Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine four years ago in breach of worldwide law, the minister said.

"But Russia is also needed when it comes to resolving the major global conflicts and that is why we want to remain in dialogue", the minister said.

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