Saturday, 20 July, 2019

Russia's Vladimir Putin wins election to rule fourth term by big margin

Russia's Vladimir Putin wins election to rule fourth term by big margin Russia's Vladimir Putin wins election to rule fourth term by big margin
Patty Aguilar | 19 March, 2018, 00:03

After a campaign without any serious political challengers to his hegemony, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been re-elected president of Russia for a fourth term. Now, he faces seven challengers but no serious threat to his rule. The major goal for Russian authorities is producing a big turnout that will hand Putin the legitimacy he craves and a mandate for his fourth term.

"The program that I propose for the country is the right one", he declared.

Russian authorities are appealing to the United Nations and Council of Europe to intervene, according to Russian news agencies.

Security forces are surrounding Russian facilities in Ukraine amid anger over the Ukrainian government's refusal to allow ordinary Russians to vote for president.

Ukraine said the move was to protest voting Sunday in Crimea, whose annexation is still not internationally recognized. Ukraine is also angry over Russian support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, where a deadly conflict continues.

The Russian president is certain to win in Sunday's election, so voter apathy is widespread.

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However, Johnson went further, blaming Putin directly on Friday. "Those (American) politicians are playing with fire", he said. Russia's ambassador to Britain said Friday the 23 expulsions will reduce staff at the embassy by about 40 percent.

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For older voters, Moscow health authorities will be offering free cancer screenings at selected polling stations. Some 2 million Russians will cast their votes overseas . "After he brought Crimea back, he became a hero to me".

Election monitoring group Golos reported dozens of apparent violations Sunday, from the Russian Far East to Moscow.

Some 145,000 observers were monitoring the presidential vote Sunday, including 1,500 foreigners, and they and ordinary Russians reported hundreds of problems. The problems included multiple ballot boxes placed out of sight of observation cameras, and last-minute voter registration changes likely created to boost turnout.

Yekaterina said she wasn't sure what she would do with her ballot, musing that "maybe I'll just write 'Putin is a moron.'" But she understood that not showing up at the polling place Sunday would not only endanger her job but would reflect badly on her boss, whom she likes. "Who else?" asked Putin supporter Andrei Borisov, 70, a retired engineer in Moscow.

Putin has traveled across Russian Federation pledging to raise wages, pour more funds into the country's crumbling health care and education and modernize dilapidated infrastructure. Some see Sobchak, the daughter of Putin's one-time patron, as a Kremlin project meant to add a democratic veneer to the vote and help split the ranks of Kremlin critics. She is the only candidate who has openly criticized Putin in the campaign.

The election came amid escalating tensions between Russia and the West, with reports that Moscow was behind the nerve-agent poisoning this month of a former Russian double agent in Britain and that its internet trolls had mounted an extensive campaign to undermine the 2016 US presidential election.

And sure enough, the Central Election Commission claimed Sunday it had been the target of a hacking attempt early in the voting day.

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