Monday, 24 September, 2018

Russian President Putin elected for the fourth term of presidency

Vladimir Putin who has run under the slogan ‘a strong president—a strong Russia’ has declined to take part in televised debates Vladimir Putin who has run under the slogan ‘a strong president—a strong Russia’ has declined to take part in televised debates
Kenny Thornton | 19 March, 2018, 16:24

Vladimir Putin's runaway victory in Sunday's elections was supported by more voters than any other candidate in the history of Russia's presidential elections, according to the latest results published Monday.

His most vocal political opponent, Alexei Navalny, was barred from running in the election because of an embezzlement conviction that he says was created to keep him off the ballot.

Final results announced by the electoral commission showed Mr. Putin won 76 per cent of the polls with opposition communist leader Pavel Grudinin receiving 12 per cent.

Authorities have pulled out all the stops to boost participation, with selfie competitions, cheap or free food and entertainers organising games for children at polling stations.

But employees of state and private companies reported coming under pressure to vote, while students were threatened with problems in their exams or even expulsion if they did not take part, according to the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper. However, Putin's critics say the election was unfair citing Kremlin's tight control over the media and opposition leader Navalny not being allowed to contest the election.

After his victory, Putin dismissed claims Russian Federation was behind the poisoning in Britain as "drivel, rubbish, nonsense" but said Moscow was ready to cooperate with London in the probe. A senior opposition politician has warned they could descend into street clashes if police crack down too hard on demonstrators.

Ahead of the vote, a new crisis broke out with the West as Britain implicated Putin in the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal with a Soviet-designed nerve agent.

European powers propose new Iran sanctions to meet Trump ultimatum
He added that without the full commitment of the USA and all parties, it is not possible to imagine the survival of the agreement. While Tillerson had been seen as a moderating influence, Trump appears to be courting harder line hawks.

"The ballot stuffing seen today in Moscow and elsewhere in the Russian election is an effort to steal the influence of 140+ million people", he said.

Runner-up Grudinin said the elections had been "dishonest".

Among the few leaders to congratulate Putin so far was Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has just been handed a second term himself and has gained a path to indefinite rule after presidential term limits were lifted last week.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro also commended "the glorious Russian people for its display of civic duty", while Bolivia's Evo Morales said Putin's victory "guarantees geopolitical equilibrium and world peace before the onslaught of imperialism".

"This is a huge event for the country - electing Russia's president".

The 65-year-old is now likely to dominate Russian politics for at least another six years.

Although Putin has six years to consider a possible successor, uncertainty about his future is a potential source of instability in a fractious ruling elite that only he can keep in check. Putin has promised to use his new term to beef up Russia's defences against the West and to raise living standards.

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