Putin 'wins' Russia's presidential poll

Vladimir Putin on course to win election in the first round over his four rivals, exit polls and initial results show.

    Exit polls cited by state television say Vladimir Putin has won Russia's presidential election, which the opposition and independent observers say has been marred by widespread violations.

    Putin tallied 59 per cent of Sunday's vote, according to a nationwide exit poll conducted by the VTsIOM polling agency for Channel one television. Another exit poll done by the FOM polling agency for Rossiya TV showed Putin received 58 per cent of the ballot.

    Communist Party candidate Gennady Zyuganov, got support of some 18 percent, according to the survey, and the others - nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, socialist Sergei Mironov and billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov - were in single digits.

    Early results based on 14.5 per cent of Russia's polling stations said he had won 61.8 per cent of the vote, the central election commission said.

    The early results -- gathered mainly from the Far East and Siberia where polls closed several hours ago -- showed Zyuganov trailing in second with 17.8 per cent.

    Zhirinovsky was scoring 8.0 per cent, Prokhorov 7.6 per cent, while the left-leaning former upper house speaker Sergei Mironov was fifth with 3.7 per cent, the early results showed.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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