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Ear to the Ground

Putin Wins Russian Presidency

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Posted on Mar 4, 2012
AP / Ivan Sekretarev)

A crowd rallies outside the Kremlin on Sunday.

Update: Vladimir Putin will once again be Russia’s president after winning what he called an “open and honest battle,” although his opponents charge that he was lifted by fraud and carousel voting.

Earlier:
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin appears set to return to the presidency as exit polls place him far ahead of his rivals. Putin declared victory before all of the votes were counted.

Tens of thousands rallied outside the Kremlin to celebrate the results. The prime minister thanked the crowd for its support, which he likened to a mass effort to prevent foreign plots from weakening the country. The BBC reported there were indications that some in attendance were ordered to show up. Opposition groups and independent observers claimed parts of the election were rigged, with some voters casting more than one ballot. Mass protests are planned for Monday. —ARK

BBC:

The electoral commission showed preliminary results, with more than 37% of districts counted, showing Mr Putin gaining over 63%, enough to give him a first-round victory over nearest rival Gennady Zyuganov, with 17%.

The other three candidates were in single digits.

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