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Triumphant Putin cruises to landslide victory in Russian election

20 March 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin easily won reelection Sunday, capturing 77 percent of the vote and a fourth term.

Putin also needs to make a key strategic decision: whether to groom a preferred successor or try to stay at Russia's helm beyond 2024, either by scrapping term limits like China just did or by shifting into a new position of power. The poll covered 161,000 respondents at 1,200 precincts in 68 Russian provinces and had a margin of error of no more than 3.5%.

Russian election authorities have annulled voting results in five districts as they investigate ballot stuffing and other problems in the presidential election.

His closest rival was millionaire Communist Pavel Grudinin with 12 percent, followed by Vladimir Zhirinovsky of the Liberal Democratic Part with 6 percent.

Tsiya Soskina, a 78-year-old retiree in Yekaterinburg, said she did not go to vote because "they're going to decide everything for me anyway".

Putin, Russia's President, said it at the meeting with presidential candidates, Interfax reports. With registered election violations and the silencing of the opposition, it seems Putin has once again succeeded in consolidating his power. Macron wished Russian Federation and its people success in modernising the country, while Erdogan spoke with Putin about joint efforts by Moscow and Ankara to resolve the Syria crisis. On that account, the vote was a success for Russia's president, who garnered support from more than three-fourths of the 67 percent of Russians who cast ballots.

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A month before Russia's presidential election, observer David Kankiya was informed by the police that his vehicle might have been used to commit a crime, Reuters reported. "The habitual discourse of Russian Federation as the besieged fortress" has grown stale; every tightening of sanctions adds to the discontent among the elites; and Putin's persistent attempts to weasel out of the worldwide isolation have been derailed yet again (Rosbalt, March 14).

German Chancellor Angela Merkel later told Putin: "It is more important than ever that we pursue dialogue and promote relations between our countries and peoples", according to a German government statement. They suspended the chief of a polling station near Moscow where a ballot-stuffing incident was reported and sealed the ballot box.

Putin for longer also means stability in the corporate sector, a favourable outcome for bond investors. The result deals a "crushing blow" to the West, the tabloid added, saying that "the worst nightmare of our Western "partners" has come true". "I voted for Putin, of course".

As The Associated Press noted, Putin's "only real challenge was to run up the tally so high that he could claim an indisputable mandate". In 2013, the only time he has been allowed to stand for public office, Navalny took nearly 30 percent of the vote in Moscow mayoral elections, despite being banned from state television.

On the day of the election, indications that some observers were targeted cropped up.

Triumphant Putin cruises to landslide victory in Russian election