Moscow, Mar 19: In an important global development, Vladimir Putin has stormed to victory in Russia’s presidential election, giving him another six years in power.
Putin, who has ruled Russia for almost two decades, won more than 75% of the vote according to preliminary results, but the opposition cried foul.
It reported ballot stuffing and other cases of alleged fraud as the Kremlin pushed for high turnout to
give greater legitimacy to Putin’s historic fourth term.
The Russian strongman ran against seven other candidates, but his most vocal critic Alexei Navalny was barred from the ballot for legal reasons and the final outcome was never in doubt.
“I see in this (result) the confidence and hope of our people,” Putin said in an address to crowds of supporters on a square next to the Kremlin after exit polls put him on track for a resounding victory.
“Our thoughts will turn to the future of our great country and the future of our children,” he said.
According to central election commission data with half of votes counted, Putin took 75 percent of the vote, well ahead of his nearest competitor Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin at 13.2 percent.
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. (KNB)