Putin far ahead in fraud-tainted Russian vote

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Putin far ahead in fraud-tainted Russian vote

After a campaign without any serious political challengers, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been re-elected president of Russia for a fourth term.

Final Russian election results show Vladimir Putin overwhelmingly won a fourth presidential term with 76.67 percent of the vote, his highest score ever.

President Putin stated his triumph to have been a result of a vote of confidence in his accomplishments. "We will think about the future of our great Motherland", he said, before leading the crowd in repeated chants of "Russia!"

Russian election authorities have annulled voting results in five districts as they investigate ballot stuffing and other problems in the presidential election.

"Thank you for your support", Putin told crowds on Manezhnaya Square just under the Kremlin walls, wearing a black down jacket with a fur hood. Asked whether he meant to run again in 2030, he added: "Listen, it seems to me that what you're saying is a little bit amusing".

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who has lived in Russia since leaking classified information about the USA government's surveillance programmes, tweeted a video apparently showing ballot stuffing in a Russian school.

This move paved the way for the incumbent Putin to easily secure his win in the elections and hold the office for the next six years.

Putin, who has run under the slogan "a strong president - a strong Russia", has declined to take part in televised debates and shot no new material for his own campaign advertisements.

There were numerous sightings of ballot-box stuffing as more than 140,000 observers monitored the vote, including a contingent of 30,000 supporters of Alexei Navalny, 41, the anti-corruption campaigner who was barred from running and who called for a boycott.

Chinese President Xi Jinping was among the first to offer his congratulations to Putin, saying in a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement he believed Russian Federation would "definitely continue to create new glories for national development".

Putin's electoral power has centered on stability, a quality cherished by Russians after the chaotic 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union.

Videos posted online appeared to show officials stuffing ballot boxes in several of the country's farther-flung regions. A doctor in the Ural mountains city told the AP that was the deadline for health officials to report to their superiors that they had voted.

Putin turns 72 in 2024.

"The programme that I propose for the country is the right one", he said.

"A satisfied Putin will come out and give a speech", he said.

Despite criticisms of the Kremlin's actions ahead of the election, Putin is a genuinely popular figure in Russian Federation, and confrontation with the West has boosted his approval ratings, past polling shows.

Sunday's election was the first presidential vote on the Crimean peninsula since Moscow annexed the territory from Ukraine in 2014, prompting a further decline in Russia's relations with the West.

This election, he has wiped off all competition.

Sergei Klimov, a 32-year-old resident of Yekaterinburg, said he was forced to go to vote but he ended up spoiling his ballot.

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