Putin Reelected Russian President in Landslide Victory
Islam Times - Russia’s incumbent President Vladimir Putin has garnered 76.65% of the vote in the March 18 election with 99% of the ballots counted, the Central Election Commission said.
Director of the Lenin State Farm Pavel Grudinin, nominated by the Communist Party of Russia, is second with 11.82% of the vote, while leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) Vladimir Zhirinovsky is third with 5.68%.
More than 55.4 million people voted for Putin, while over 8.54 million supported Grudinin and around 4.1 million voted in Zhirinovsky’s favor.
Shortly after the first results were announced, Vladimir Putin addressed his supporters at a massive anniversary rally in Moscow’s Red Square, marking Crimea's reunification with Russia, and talked to reporters in his election campaign HQ. He thanked his backers and answered questions on the hottest political issues.
Putin was first elected to the Kremlin in 2000, and again four years later. Constitutionally barred from serving more than two consecutive terms, he did not run in 2008, the same year presidential terms were extended from four years to six years. Putin won 63.6 percent of the vote in 2012, and, if the early results are confirmed, he will now stay in his post until 2024, the year he turns 72.
Some officials in Moscow partly credited Putin's overwhelming victory to the diplomatic storm with Britain over the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal.
“Turnout is higher than we expected, by about 8-10 per cent, for which we must say thanks to Great Britain,” said Andrei Kondrashov, Mr Putin’s campaign spokesman.
“We were pressured exactly at the moment when we needed to mobilise [voters]. Whenever Russia is accused of something indiscriminately and without any evidence, the Russian people unite around the centre of power. And the centre of power is certainly Putin today,” Mr Kondrashov said at a victory party for Putin’s campaign.
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