MOSCOW, March 5 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin secured 63.71 percent, or 44.9 million votes, as 99.5 percent of all ballots have been counted in Sunday’s presidential elections, the Russian Central Election Commission (CEC) said on Monday.
“According to preliminary data, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has been elected president of Russia,” CEC chief Vladimir Churov announced during a news conference on Monday.
The Communist leader, Gennady Zyuganov received 17.19 percent of the vote, which is equivalent to over 12 million ballots, while the independent candidate, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, came in third with 7.86 percent (5.4 million votes).
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the charismatic leader of the nationalist LDPR party, came fourth with 6.23 percent, or 4.3 million votes. Sergei Mironov, A Just Russia party candidate and former speaker of the Russian parliament’s upper house, tails the list with 3.85 percent of the ballots or 2.7 million votes.
Churov also dismissed complaints by monitoring groups of mass expulsions of observers from polling stations, saying that only 77 out of more than 300,000 monitors, along with 66 members of precinct election commissions, have been expelled from polling stations across Russia.