MOSCOW, March 14 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin easily won another 4-year term with 70.9 percent of the vote, preliminary election results showed Sunday.
The Central Election Commission, which previously announced a 52 percent turnout would validate the results, said Putin was collecting more than 70 percent of the votes, with more than 88 percent of the votes counted, the Tass news service reported.
Putin had been expected to overwhelm his five opponents, but there had been a lingering question of whether turnout would top the necessary 50 percent since the inevitability of his win appeared to dampen some of the enthusiasm to get to the polls.
"We voted for Putin -- who else?" asked 65-year-old Alla Svetagorova, a Moscow pensioner, The Washington Post reported. "We're not satisfied, of course, but he's in such a difficult situation, we're thankful he's managed to do anything at all."
The 51-year-old president, challenged by only secondary candidates with whom he refused to debate, led a positive yet rather vague campaign on pledges to restore Russian greatness, double the size of the economy and reduce poverty, the Post reported.