Putin officially declared election winner

March 8, 2012 at 10:25 AM
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MOSCOW, March 8 (UPI) -- A Russian election commission confirmed that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin won weekend presidential elections by a landslide.

Putin ran for a third non-consecutive term as president last weekend. He was challenged by four candidates.

The Russian Central Election Commission certified Putin's 46-percentage-point victory over his closet rival, Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov.

"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 was quoted by Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti said.

Gennady and members of the opposition said they wouldn't recognize Putin's victory.

The Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe said it felt the election was clearly skewed in Putin's favor. A similar sentiment was expressed following a victory for Putin's United Russia party in State Duma elections in December.

Other monitoring groups had said there were irregularities during the election, though not enough to alter the outcome of the vote.

Putin is to be inaugurated in May.

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