Putin wins Russian presidential election, to be sworn in on May 7

Russia to expel 60 U.S. diplomats, close U.S. consulate in St. Petersburg

The Central Election Commission (CEC) Chair Ella Pamfilova  on Monday confirmed that Russia‘s incumbent President Vladimir Putin won 76.6 percent of ballots after 99.83 percent of the votes were counted in the presidential election held on  Sunday.

“According to preliminary results, Vladimir Putin won in the election with an unprecedented number of votes,” Pamfilova said.

According to the Russian law, a candidate garnering more than half of the votes goes to the Kremlin, the seat of  power

Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin, Putin’s nearest rival, got 11.9 percent of votes, while the head of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, received 5.66 percent, according to the CEC. Five other candidates received substantially less support.

Sunday’s voter turnout stood at around 67.5 percent, meaning some 73.4 million Russians cast their ballots, compared to 71.8 million in 2012, CEC’s deputy head Nikolai Bulayev said.

The final tally of the election, the seventh since Russia introduced the presidential system in 1991, will be announced by the CEC within 10 days.

More than 1,500 observers from 115 countries monitored the election, Pamfilova said.

Putin became president for the first time in 2000, when Boris Yeltsin stepped down. He was re-elected in 2004 and became president for the third time in 2012 after serving as prime minister for four years. He will lead Russia through 2024.

The president is expected to be sworn in on May 7.

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