19 Mar 2018
Putin wins 4th term as Russian President with 74% vote
Vladimir Putin is set to extend his power in Russia for another six years after winning the Presidential Election with 74% vote, an official exit poll said.
The result came amid election violation allegations including ballot-box stuffing and forced voting.
Putin, who ruled Russia for almost two decades, stood against seven candidates. But, his main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, was barred from the race.
Elections took place amid tensions between Russia and UK
Russia's Presidential Election took place amid escalating tensions between Russia and other countries.
The UK blamed the Kremlin for the nerve-agent poisoning of former Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, prompting the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats.
Meanwhile, the US has imposed sanctions on 19 Russians for alleged interference in 2016 Presidential Election. Russia's military also supports Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.
Votes received by Putin's opponents
The exit poll by state-owned pollster VTsIOM at 1,200 voting stations around Russia projected that Putin had won 73.9% of the vote, up from 64% six years ago.
His nearest challenger, Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin, secured around 11.2% of the vote, according to the exit poll, while former reality TV host Ksenia Sobchak received around 2% of the vote.
Navalny alleges voting was tainted by ballot stuffing
Putin's most well-known opponent, anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny asked his supporters to boycott the "fake" vote.
He also sent over 33,000 observers across the country to see how official turnout figures differed from those of monitors.
His lawyer Ivan Zhdanov said the actual national turnout when polls closed was 55%.
Nalvany also alleged the vote was tainted by ballot stuffing and repeat voting.
Putin is Russia's longest-serving leader
Putin, who is already Russia's longest-serving leader, first won the Presidential election in 2000.
The 65-year-old former KGB officer used the Presidential campaign to emphasize Russia's role as a major world power, boasting of its invincible new nuclear weapons in a pre-election speech.
Putin said he would use his 4th term to address a litany of domestic problems, including widespread poverty and poor healthcare.