Russian President, Vladimir Putin has cruised into an expected victory in the country’s presidential elections held on Sunday, clinching a fourth term as President. This victory means that he will be piloting the affairs of the world’s largest country until 2024.
Putin scored more than 76 percent of the votes and secured a re-election victory that will make him the first Kremlin leader to serve two decades in power since Joseph Stalin.
In a victory speech held near the Red Square, Putin who had dominated Russia’s political landscape for the past 18 years told a cheering crowd that he viewed the win as a vote of confidence in what he had achieved under difficult and tough conditions.
The voter turnout, which was seen as a measure of the Kremlin’s legitimacy in this competitive campaign was close to 60 percent as at 9 pm on Sunday evening after a long day of voting, although the Kremlin had hoped to surpass or at least match the 65 percent who cast votes in 2012.
Russian electorate had a choice of eight candidates, including the Communist Pavel Grudinin, whose title to a former state fruit farm has made him a billionaire and Kseina Sobchak, the daughter of Putin’s political mentor who presented a Liberal programme.
Election monitors led by opposition leader, Alexei Navalny who was barred from running in the election complained of ballot stuffing and other irregularities meant to increase the turnout in Sunday’s votes but officials from the country’s elections committee maintained that no serious violations had taken place.