French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by telephone to President Vladimir Putin on Monday, and wished Russian Federation and its people success in modernising the country after Sunday’s election victory. The Russian constitution limits a president to two consecutive terms.
Putin polled well ahead of his nearest competitor, Communist Party candidate Grudinin, who was on 11.8 per cent, according to central election commission data with 99.84 per cent of ballots counted.
The exit poll by state-owned pollster VTsIOM at 1,200 voting stations around Russian Federation projected that Putin had won 73.9 percent of the vote, up from 64 percent six years ago.
Putin, who has now been in power for 18 years and is set for a further six years in office, told chanting crows outside the Kremlin: “We are bound for success”.
With nearly all districts reporting in and counted, Putin garnered about 76.7 percent of the total vote, the highest proportion in any presidential election since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. He will be leading the country for another six years, until 2024.
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister, meanwhile, has encouraged the E.U.to dedicate its focus on containing Trump’s erratic behavior instead of giving into his tough talk on Iran. The option for combining confrontation and cooperation in relations with the USA is closing, and the departure of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State is seen in Moscow as a loss of an important interlocutor who understood the mechanics of doing business with Russia (Russiancouncil.ru, March 14).
Link pointed to the extensive media coverage given to Putin on tightly controlled state-run television, the main source of political information in Russian Federation.
The Kremlin had put intense pressure on regional governors to get Mr Putin at least 70 per cent of the vote with turnout of at least 70 per cent.
Officials and analysts say there is little agreement among Putin’s top policymakers on an economic strategy for his new term.
Asked at an impromptu news conference Sunday night if he would seek the presidency again in 2030, when he would be eligible again, the 65-year-old Putin snapped back: “It’s ridiculous”.
Putin has cast himself as a protector against US -led plots to sideline and weaken Russian Federation, and with those bitter strains with the West showing no signs of abating, it could be hard to imagine him leaving the job in 2024. “Shall I sit here until I turn 100? No!” Putin won a crushing victory in Sunday’s elections.
To Russians, Putin’s biggest victory in 18 years in power was annexing Crimea and crushing Ukraine’s ambitions to move closer to the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. In response to his candidacy filings being denied, Navalny called for his supporters to boycott the elections and hold protest rallies to raise awareness about his plight. TV host Ksenia Sobchak, arguably the most Western-friendly of the candidates, scored less than 2 percent of the vote.
Most of the voters AFP spoke to said they had backed Putin despite Russia’s problems of poverty and poor healthcare, praising his foreign policies.
The massive victory gives Putin new confidence to stand up to the West.
Others were even blunter: “Putin has already been in power for a long time, of course, but this isn’t for people like me to decide”.