March 5th, 2012
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Putin emerges victorious, opposition calls for demonstrations

putinMoscow: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin today secured a record third term in the Kremlin. Mr Putin got 62 per cent of the 85 per cent votes counted which is comfortably above the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff. Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov came second with over 17 per cent of the votes. The other three candidates polled less than 10 per cent each.

“We won in an open and honest fight!” a jubilant Putin who had happy tears streaming down his face told a crowd of tens of thousands of supporters. For Mr. Putin, 59, it will be his third term as President. His claim on power has extended to 18 years, which would equal the rule of Leonid Brezhnev, the Soviet leader. Mr Putin stepped down four years ago because of a Constitutional limit, promoting his protégé Dmitry Medvedev to succeed him. Mr. Putin has promised to appoint Mr. Medvedev as Prime Minister after the election.

Russian observers and opposition leaders however, have alleged widespread violations in polls by supporters of Putin. Some opposition leaders called for demonstrations. This could hamper the hope of stability. “This is not an election; it’s a shame,” Sergei Udaltsov, the leader of the Left Front, a radical socialist group, posted on Twitter. “Once again they spat in our face. Tomorrow we go to the streets!”

Opposition activists and observers have reported thousands of violations that involved multiple voting, known here as “carousels” — voting without proper documents and non-admission of monitors to polling stations. The elections watchdog agency Golos said it received more than 3,000 complaints of violations. Website Rosvobory reported 2,700 violations by noon. The CEC said it received reports of a mere 86 violations.


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