(From The Guardian)
Vladimir Putin is set for another six years in power after winning a record victory in Russia’s presidential election, despite opposition activists highlighting a number of cases of vote rigging.
Final results released on Monday morning showed Putin had won his fourth presidential term with 76.6% of the vote, his highest score ever.
The total number of ballots cast on Sunday for Putin, who has spent 18 years as Russia’s most powerful politician, exceeded 56.2m in overnight counting. That was a record total, even discounting the nearly 1m votes he gained as a result of the 2014 annexation of Crimea.
Putin’s most serious rival, the opposition leader Alexei Navalny, was barred from the race. The Central Election Commission said on Monday that the communist candidate, Pavel Grudinin, came second with 11.8% of the vote, and third was the ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky (5.6%). The only candidate to openly criticise Putin during the campaign, the liberal TV star Ksenia Sobchak, won 1.6%.