– Putin declared president-elect (RT, Mar 5, 2012):
Vladimir Putin secured some 63.7 per cent of vote in Russia’s presidential election. The head of Central Election Commission declared him the next president of the country.
The commission has counted more than 99 per cent of the ballots. “As you can see, the election finished in one round,” Vladimir Churov said, as he announced Putin’s landslide victory.
Gennady Zyuganov scored 17.2 percent of the votes. In third place was political newcomer Mikhail Prokhorov, who won 7.9 percent. Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Sergey Mironov won 6.2 and 3.9 per cent of the vote respectively.
Exit polls showed results similar to the CEC’s intermediate data. According to a Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) survey, about 58.3 per cent of Russians cast their votes for Vladimir Putin, while Gennady Zyuganov got the support of 17.7 per cent of the country’s voters.Mikhail Prokhorov, Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Sergey Mironov won 9.2, 8.5 and 4.8 per cent of the votes respectively. Around 1.5 per cent of the respondents said they had trashed their ballots.
Vladimir Putin and outgoing president Dmitry Medvedev came out to address thousands of people gathered at Manezhnaya Square. Putin thanked his supporters, telling them, “we have won in an open and fair struggle.”
Russian election authorities continue counting the last 0.5 per cent unaccounted ballots under observer supervision.
According to the preliminary data from Russia’s Central Election Commission, over 63.3 per cent of registered voters went to the polling stations Sunday. The figure is lower than during the previous presidential election, in 2008, but higher than during the parliamentary election in 2011.
Observers reported a number of violations during the vote across the country. Results at one polling station in Dagestan, in the North Caucasus, will be annulled due to a video recorded by one of the webcams. It showed several people casting multiple ballots. Vladimir Putin’s campaign headquarters says it will demand the cancelation of results at every polling station where such serious violations are revealed.
Russians have demonstrated an unprecedented level of political engagement leading up to the vote. Hundreds of thousands of independent vote observers were spread nationwide, and every ballot box was under the watchful eye of live webcams.
The overall organization of the election process and the monitoring system has received positive feedback from the majority of Russian and international independent observers.
Such measures follow allegations of widespread vote violation in a December parliamentary vote leading to a number of mass protests across the country. The authorities tried to satisfy people’s call for fair elections and made the vote as transparent as possible.
Voting opened at 12 pm Moscow time in the country’s most eastern areas, including Chukotka, Magadan, and Kamchatka, and ended at 9 pm in the western Kaliningrad region.
– ‘We won!’ Teary-eyed Putin proclaims victory (PHOTOS, VIDEO) (RT, Mar 4, 2012):
Vladimir Putin, set to win a third presidential term, declared his victory and thanked his voters for their support. Polling at almost 64 percent with almost all of the votes counted, victory seems assured.
“We have won in an open and fair struggle,” Putin said, addressing 110,000 people gathered on Manezhnaya Square outside the Kremlin walls.
He stressed that this victory signals a defeat for those who want to destroy Russia.
“This was more than just a presidential election. This was a very important test for us – a test for the political maturity of our people and independence. We have demonstrated that nobody can impose anything on us. We have shown that our people are capable of telling the difference between the desire for novelty and progress, and political provocations that press for only one goal: to destroy Russia. Today our people have proven that such scenarios are not going to work in our country,” Putin said.
“We will work honestly and intensely, and we will achieve success. We encourage you all to unite for the benefit of our or nation and our homeland.”
Putin, who is likely to win the election with nearly 64 per cent of the vote, appeared on stage with outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev, who also thanked all of Putin’s supporters.
“Thank you all for supporting our candidate. We all needed this victory – our country needed it. Each one of us needs this victory. We will not give it away to anybody,” Medvedev said.
In 2008, when Medvedev won the presidential race, they also appeared together to give speeches.
Speaking at the rally, Putin appeared to have tears in his eyes. This sparked an online frenzy, with many bloggers crestfallen with what was perceived as an emotional reaction, while others were quick to call them “crocodile tears.” Putin later said the cold wind had made his eyes water.
“It was windy, windy it was,” he told journalists, arriving at his headquarters.
Back at his headquarters, Putin made a series of video calls to congratulate and thank his supporters across the country. He assured them that he would not break his election promises and, buoyed by a mood of euphoria, cited the verses of Sergey Yesenin, one of Russia’s most popular 20th century lyric poets.
“This is a huge gift you have made to all the workers of Russia,” he said in one video call, thanking workers in the Russian Urals for their support in the elections. “You demonstrated that workers and engineers stand head and shoulders above the idlers or babblers.”