Published: Mon, March 19, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Vladimir Putin decisively re-elected as Russian president - preliminary results

Vladimir Putin decisively re-elected as Russian president - preliminary results

In line with the constitution, when Putin ended his second term in 2008, he handed power to protege Dmitry Medvedev and moved to become prime minister - but few doubted who was really in charge.

"What percentage of the vote would you consider for yourself successful?" a journalist asked Putin in a sign of the day's major drama.

"I am sure of the correctness of the course that I propose for the country", he said, as per a state news agency RIA-Novosti.

Almost 109 million voters have the right to cast their ballot in approximately 100,000 voting stations across the 85 regions and republics of the Russian Federation.

"He restored our confidence in Russian Federation", 43-year-old Mikhail Ryabov said after casting his ballot in Moscow. Navalny has requested to boycott the election since he was not allowed to compete, however, most of the Russians seem to be in favour of Vladimir Putin.

"But the answer was easy. if I want to keep working, I vote, " he said. Many took photographs of themselves voting, saying they were needed as proof.

From the far eastern town of Anadyr to the city Kaliningrad, Russia's most westward territory, polling stations are opening for crowds of voters.

When she hadn't voted by midday, "The chief of my unit called me and said I was the only one who hadn't voted", said the doctor, Yekaterina, who spoke on condition her last name not be used because she also feared repercussions. For older voters, Moscow health authorities will be offering free cancer screenings at selected polling stations.

The election was held as Russian Federation faced increasing isolation on the world stage over a spy poisoning in Britain and a fresh round of United States sanctions just as it gears up for the football World Cup in the summer.

"According to exit poll results, Putin has been elected president in the first round of voting (73.9% of votes)", the pollster said.

Polling stations will be open 12 hours from 8 a.m.to 8 p.m. local time across the country spanning nine time zones.

There is no consequential opposition going on in this matter, and Putin's foremost political opponent, Alexei Navalny, has been denied from joining the competition.

Reuters reporters at polling stations across Russian Federation spoke to multiple voters who said they had been instructed by bosses or academic supervisors to vote. The Kremlin and election officials say any fraud will be stamped out.

"There's no alternative to him", she told AFP at a polling station in the south of Moscow.

Residents of Crimea, where Putin held his last public rally on Wednesday, will vote for the first time in Russian presidential elections.

That insulted the Ukrainian government, which refused to let ordinary Russians vote, drawing angry protests from Russian officials.

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 past year after a prolonged downturn.

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