Putin wins Kremlin with almost 64% of vote: results
MOSCOW - Agence France- Presse
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who claimed victory in Russia's presidential election, tears up as he reacts at a massive rally of his supporters at Manezh square outside Kremlin, in Moscow, Sunday, March 4, 2012. AP PhotoRussian leader Vladimir Putin crushed his rivals in presidential elections with almost 64 percent of the vote, according to results published Monday based on an almost complete vote count.
Putin won 63.75 percent of the vote in Sunday's polls, well ahead of his nearest rival the Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov who won 17.19 percent, based on a count of the vote from 99.3 percent of polling stations.
"According to the preliminary results, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has been elected president of the Russian Federation," the head of the central election commission Vladimir Churov told reporters.
"As you can see there will be no second round," he added.
Third place went to tycoon-turned-politician Mikhail Prokhorov with 7.82 percent, a performance seen as a breakthrough as the billionaire had only announced his intention to run late last year.
Maverick ultra-nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a fixture in past elections, came fourth with 6.23 percent while former upper house speaker Sergei Mironov trailed in fifth place with 3.85 percent.
Turnout was 65.3 percent, according to the results published by the central election commission, down on the figure of almost 70 percent from the 2008 elections but higher than in the parliamentary elections in December.
Regionally, Putin failed to obtain half of the vote in Moscow, winning 47.22 percent while Prokhorov came in a strong second with 20.21 percent.
But a preliminary count from Chechnya said that Putin had won 99.73 percent of the vote in the conflict-torn region, on an astonishing turnout of 99.59 percent.
Putin's results were even stronger than predicted by opinion polls, even if they were down slightly on the rating of over 70 percent that he won in the 2004 presidential elections, a feat repeated by his protege Dmitry Medvedev in 2008.
The Russian strongman is now set for an inauguration expected in May to formally regain the Kremlin post he occupied for two terms from 2000 to 2008 before becoming prime minister under the presidency of Medvedev.