Monday, March 5, 2012

Vladimir Putin Wins Russia's Presidential Election Amid Allegations of Vote-Rigging and Ballot Fraud

At Toronto's Globe and Mail, "Vladimir Putin declares ‘open and honest victory’ in Russian elections." And Telegraph UK, "Russia election: Tearful Vladimir Putin declares victory":

Vladimir Putin declared victory in Russia's presidential election Sunday night, but his historic win was overshadowed by widespread reports of vote-rigging and ballot fraud.

Addressing a rally outside the Kremlin, Mr Putin had tears rolling down his cheeks as he claimed he had won an "open and honest battle" and secured "clear victory" over his four rivals.

Early results suggested he had won more than 63 per cent of the vote, enough to avoid a run-off against another of the candidates and deliver him an unprecedented third term.

However, he faces mass protests after opposition activists said they had recorded more than 4,000 instances of alleged vote-rigging and malpractice that rendered the contest illegitimate.

They promised to bring tens of thousands of people on to the streets on Monday after claims that the regime had sought to guarantee victory by transporting groups of supporters around multiple polling stations to vote several times over.

However, as he spoke to an estimated crowd of 100,000 outside the Kremlin, Mr Putin, who was flanked by the outgoing president, Dmitry Medvedev, insisted: "We have won in an open and honest battle.

"I promised you we would win, we won. Glory to Russia!"

His voice hoarse with emotion he added: "We showed that no one and nothing can tell us what to do. We were able to save ourselves from political provocations that have just one aim: to overturn the Russian state and usurp power. Such attempts will not succeed on our land. They won't succeed!"
And check Russia Today, "Video: Teary-eyed Putin addresses 110,000 crowd near Kremlin."

Plus, at the New York Times, "Putin Wins Vote but Faces More Friction With Opponents."