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Russia formalises Putin election win, dismissing criticism

By AFP

March 21, 2024 05:36 PM


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Russia formalised Thursday President Vladimir Putin's victory in last week's presidential election, dismissing scathing criticism by the West and independent Russian observers that it was the most corrupt vote in post-Soviet history.

The three-day vote last weekend saw Putin cruise to an easy victory for a fifth Kremlin term, unchallenged by any meaningful opposition.

The election was also held in occupied Ukraine and voting took place two years into Moscow's offensive.

Russia's electoral chief Ella Pamfilova said final results showed Putin won 87.28 percent of the vote.

She called the election -- which sees Putin's 24-year rule extended by another six years -- "historic."

Pamfilova said turnout was 77.49 percent.

The Kremlin had encouraged Russians to vote out of patriotic duty, despite Putin's win being inevitable.

The Russian leader thanked Russians for their "support" in an address on Thursday after the final results were published.

Pamfilova claimed a "very clean" election campaign and brushed off Western criticism.

"This is not the first time we have heard this," she said.

Putin crushed three other hand-picked opponents, who each received tiny percentages of the vote.

None of them had openly challenged Putin, but Pamfilova said the vote was fair and competitive.

"It is a different kind of opposition. They do not agree with everything and criticise things... But they are pro-Russian," she said.

"Unlike others who are anti-Russian opposition in the current conditions when there is a war," she said, seemingly referring to Putin's opponents who have been forced into exile.

Thousands took part in the opposition's call to form long queues at midday on the final day of the vote.

The election was also marred by ballot spoiling -- with some across Russia pouring green dye in ballot boxes in protest.

Pamfilova said "30 ballot boxes were covered in green dye" but said "most (ballots) were saved."

In his victory speech, Putin said Russian ballot spoilers should be "dealt with".

On Wednesday, a court in Saint Petersburg ordered a woman who spoiled her ballot to serve eight days in jail.

 

 

 

 


AFP


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