Russia’s Vladimir Putin wins by big margin

Vladimir Putin will lead Russia for another six years, after securing an expected victory in Sunday’s presidential election.
Mr Putin, who has ruled the country as either president or prime minister since 1999, got more than 76% of the vote, official results show.
The main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, was barred from the race.
Addressing a rally in Moscow, Mr Putin said voters had
“recognised the achievements of the last few years”.
Speaking to reporters after the results were announced, he laughed off a question about running again in another six years.
“What you are saying is a bit funny. Do you think that I will stay here until I’m 100 years old? No!” he said.
The scale of victory – which had been widely predicted – appears to be a marked increase in his share of the vote from 2012, when he won 64%.
Mr Putin’s nearest competitor, millionaire communist Pavel Grudinin, received about 12%.
The race also included Ksenia Sobchak, a former reality TV host, and veteran nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky – they got less than 2% and about 6% respectively.

Mr Putin’s campaign team said it was an “incredible victory”.
“The percentage that we have just seen speaks for itself. It’s a mandate which Putin needs for future decisions, and he has a lot of them to make,” a spokesman told Russia’s Interfax.
In some areas, free food and discounts in local shops were on offer near polling stations.

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