Monday, March 5, 2012

Russian Presidential Election: Putin Wins Third Term

Russians voted on March 4 in presidential polls set to return strongman Vladimir Putin to the Kremlin for an unprecedented third term, as he faced public wrath over allegations of rigging in December’s parliamentary elections which was won by his United Russia party, even as Opposition leaders and Russian observers say they are seeing widespread violations in the elections.
Voters turned out at 90,000 polling stations across Russia spread over 21 hours for the marathon electoral process, that is being monitored through election observers and over 100,000 webcams.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has won Russia's presidential election. The present vote saw Putin, hoping to become president for a third time after swapping role as prime minister with his close aide Dmitry Medvedev.
Reports of Large-Scale Violations
The Central Election Commission said, the 59-year-old ex-KGB spy Putin has got 62 per cent of the 85 per cent votes counted. Exit polls conducted by two leading pollsters gave Putin 58-59 per cent. Putin needed to win more than 50 per cent to avoid a runoff.
Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov came second with over 17 per cent of the votes. The other three candidates polled less than 10 per cent each.
The election was marred by reports of large-scale violations. Opposition activists and observers have reported thousands of violations that involved multiple voting, known here as “carousels” — voting without proper documents and non-admission of monitors to polling stations.
Other Candidates
Putin's main challenger was considered to be Communist Gennady Zyuganov, who was running for a fourth time. The other candidates were ultra-nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov, who was standing as an independent, and former Upper House speaker Sergey Mironov, from the centre-left A Just Russia party.
Putin was Russia's president from 2000 to 2008, but was barred by the constitution from standing for a third consecutive term. He faces four challengers, three of whom he has defeated in previous elections.

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