MOSCOW – Vladimir Putin is the clear winner in Sunday’s elections, with preliminary results showing he was supported by 63.6 per cent of voters, meaning he won in the first round, Russia Today international news channel informs. According to RIA Novosti, Putin secured 63.71 percent, or 44.9 million votes, as 99.5 percent of all ballots have been counted in Sunday’s presidential elections, the Russian Central Election Commission (CEC) said on Monday. The Communist leader, Gennady Zyuganov received 17.19 percent of the vote, which is equivalent to over 12 million ballots, while the independent candidate, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, came in third with 7.86 percent (5.4 million votes). Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the charismatic leader of the nationalist LDPR party, came fourth with 6.23 percent, or 4.3 million votes. Sergei Mironov, A Just Russia party candidate and former speaker of the Russian parliament’s upper house, tails the list with 3.85 percent of the ballots or 2.7 million votes. Churov also dismissed complaints by monitoring groups of mass expulsions of observers from polling stations, saying that only 77 out of more than 300,000 monitors, along with 66 members of precinct election commissions, have been expelled from polling stations across Russia. Putin: We won in an open and fair fight
Vladimir Putin has declared victory on Sunday night, according to the BBC. Putin told supporters at a rally in central Moscow they had won in an open and honest battle. Meanwhile tens of thousands of supporters of Mr Putin gathered with Russian flags and banners outside the Kremlin for a concert to celebrate his victory. “We won in an open and fair fight”, a tear-eyed Putin told the crowds. Making a brief appearance with current President Dmitry Medvedev, Putin thanked his supporters from “every corner” of the country.
Fraud allegationsThere have been widespread claims of fraud and vote violations, and the OSCE said the result was “never in doubt”. Opposition groups have reported widespread fraud, with many people said to have voted more than once. A protest rally has been set for last night on Moscow’s Pushkin Square, one of the central city’s most iconic locations. News reports say some 12,000 police and troops were called on duty to ensure order in the city. In a statement, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said while all candidates had been able to campaign freely, there had been “serious problems” from the start, conditions were “clearly skewed in favour of one of the contestants, current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin”.