Sunday, 19 May, 2019

Putin wins landslide victory in Russia's presidential election

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Patty Aguilar | 19 March, 2018, 03:53

The longer-term question is whether Mr Putin will soften his anti-Western rhetoric now the election is won.

The country went to the polls across 11 time zones today, with no doubt over the result, as Mr Putin faced seven weak, government-endorsed candidates.

There also been criticism from the West of Russia's military support for Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad.

An official win of more than 73% of the vote would be a major boost to Putin, who already enjoys sweeping powers over his country.

Russian opposition presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak cast her ballot and urged Vladimir Putin's critics to vote instead of boycotting.

"Right now the turnout numbers are higher than we expected".

According the TASS media outlet, the Russian president, who won in 2000 and 2004 before serving as Prime Minister from 2008 to 2012, only to be reelected as president in 2012, is projected to win 72% of the vote, according to exit polls. "That's what we count on from our president in such a frightening world".

The main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, was barred from the race.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny says he has boycotted the presidential election and is advising other Russians to do the same.

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

Britain and Russia last week announced tit-for-tat diplomat expulsions over the spy case and the United States issued new sanctions.Russian officials denounced both cases as efforts to interfere in the Russian election. Russian Federation has vowed retaliation.

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The government wants to ensure elections are clean after ballot stuffing and fraud marred the last presidential election in 2012. Earlier on Sunday, the polling stations opened in Moscow and across central Russian Federation for the presidential elections .

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"I think that in the United States and Britain they've understood they can not influence our elections", Senator Igor Morozov said on state television.

Election monitors are reporting irregularities at voting stations across Russian Federation in a presidential election whose only open question is how many people cast ballots. "The West at the moment is rather fragmented because of transatlantic tensions and Brexit", he said.

Before leaving the stage to applause, he led the crowd in a chant of "Russia, Russia!"

"Our elections have proved once again. that it's not possible to manipulate our people", she said.

Officials in Washington also said Thursday that Russian government-backed hackers are carrying out rolling attacks on "critical infrastructure" including the electric grid, water processing plants and air transportation facilities that are relied upon by hundreds of millions of Americans.

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

The incumbent Russian president has cast his ballot in the presidential elections, in which he is widely expected to win a fourth term.

Putin, speaking from a stage just off Moscow's Red Square in front of a cheering audience, said the election result was a recognition of what had been achieved in the past few years, despite hard conditions.

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Sunday (local time) that he has evidence Russian Federation has been stockpiling a nerve agent in violation of global law "very likely for the purposes of assassination". Authorities have spent unprecedented funds to get out the vote to ensure he has a strong mandate for his next six years in office. "The priority in the next term is to build on that".

Asked by a journalist about whether he would consider future runs for president, he responded: "What you're saying is just silly ... what, am I going to sit here for 100 years?"

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