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    PUTIN SECURES UNDOUBTED VICTORY AT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, ACCORDING TO PRELIMINARY DATA

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    MOSCOW, March 15, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Putin has won a convincing victory at the presidential election, according to preliminary returns.

    By 6:00 a.m. the Central Election Commission processed 96.1 per cent of protocols from district election commissions, which makes 94.85 per cent of the total number of voters who cast their ballots.

    Vladimir Putin continues in the lead, with 71.1 per cent of the vote, with more than 46,676,000 people voting for him.

    Nikolai Kharitonov has 13.9 per cent of the vote (9.1 million ballots), and Sergei Glazyev 4.1 per cent (2.7 million votes).

    Irina Khakamada garnered 3.8 per cent (2.51 million votes), Oleg Malyshkin 2.1 per cent (1.34 million voters), and Sergei Mironov 0.8 per cent (493,000 votes).

    A total of 3.5 per cent (2.2 million) voted for "none of the above".

    In the view of the Central Election Committee, these figures are unlikely to change substantially.

    As many as 64.26 per cent of registered voters took part in this year's presidential election in Russia. In 2000, 68.74 per cent of the electorate came to the polls.

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