11:13 GMT31 March 2020
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    CEC Declares Putin Winner of Presidential Election

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    Russia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) certified on Wednesday Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's victory in Sunday's presidential elections.

    Russia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) certified on Wednesday Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's victory in Sunday's presidential elections.

    Putin won a landslide victory during the March 4 polls with 63.6 percent of the vote.

    "We officially declare Vladimir Putin, who received 45,602,075 votes, which totals 63.6 percent, or over half of the ballots cast by voters who took part in the election, winner of the Russian presidential election," the CEC said.

    Putin's closest rival, communist leader Gennady Zyuganov gained 17.18 percent, independent candidate Mikhail Prokhorov secured 7.98 percent, Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, 6.22 percent, and A Just Russia Party leader Sergei Mironov, 3.85 percent.

    Zyuganov and leaders of ongoing anti-Putin protests refused to recognize the polls as legitimate, citing widespread allegations of ballot-stuffing and multiple voting.

    The Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe said in a report that the election was “clearly skewed” in favor of Putin.

    The polls also triggered protest rallies in Moscow and St. Petersburg on Monday that ended with scores of arrests.

    However, Russian election authorities said the March 4 polls were the “most honest, open and transparent” in the world.

    Putin was Russia's president between 2000 and 2008, when he was forced to stand down by the Constitution. He became prime minister after the inauguration of his hand-picked successor, Dmitry Medvedev.

    Putin will be inaugurated on May 7.

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