Saturday, 29 February, 2020


Xi Jinping applauds Putin re-election, hails 'best level' ties

Get out the popcorn Get out the popcorn
Bennie Garza | 19 March, 2018, 20:42

The Kremlin, analysts say, was looking for high turnout to deliver legitimacy for another Putin term.

Observers added, however, that "restrictions on the fundamental freedoms of assembly, association and expression, as well as on candidate registration, have limited the space for political engagement and resulted in a lack of genuine competition".

It came as polls were opening in the 2018 presidential election, which there is no real doubt that Vladimir Putin will win.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier congratulated Putin on his victory in a statement Monday. "We can do that, we have achieved a level where it is possible to make a breakthrough", he said.

"Mistrust, armament and a climate of insecurity contribute to instability".

Kiev has said Russians living in Ukraine would not be able to vote in Sunday's election as access to Moscow's diplomatic missions would be blocked. Voting fraud was widespread in Russia's 2011 parliamentary vote, triggering massive protests in Moscow against Putin's rule.

Without being specific, the National Front then urged the European Union to "put an end to its absurd and counterproductive politics of blackmail, threats and sanctions" against Russian Federation, "a vital ally in the war against terror and our common enemy, the Islamic State".

Moscow chose to hold the election four years to the date of when Russian Federation annexed Crimea from Ukraine, a day now celebrated in Russian Federation as one of "reunification".

According to the Russian Central Election Commission, with 99.84% of the ballots counted, Putin has garnered 76.66% of the vote.

Third was ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky with 5.66 percent.

The spokesman added he could understand the solidarity of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and other United Kingdom allies, that backed London in this situation, but stressed that the groundless claims would have to be substantiated at some point.

With Putin's main challenger Alexei Navalny barred from taking part in the poll for legal reasons, the result of the election is hugely predictable, with overall turnout remaining the only likely element of surprise.

The Moscow Region Election Commission later said that both of the women seen in the video are facing criminal charges and that the ballot box has been sealed and will not be counted.

Russian authorities had sought to ensure a large turnout to bolster the image that Mr Putin's so-called "managed democracy" is robust and offers Russians true choices.

Since first being elected president in 2000, Putin has stamped his total authority on the world's biggest country, muzzling opposition, putting television under state control and reasserting Moscow's standing overseas.

For the people of China - where Xi Jinping won such a mandate last week - and Russian Federation, this will mean a transition back to an era that few under the age of 40 will have known: the absolute rule of Mao and Brezhnev or Stalin.

Maas added that "we want to remain in dialogue but we expect constructive contributions from Russian Federation, and more than was the case in the recent past".

He said: "We would call this the "shuttle bus election".

The doctor, who gave her name only as Yekaterina because of fears about repercussions, said she and her co-workers were told to fill out forms detailing not only where they would cast their ballots, but giving the names and details of two "allies" whom they promised to persuade to go vote.

Those who vote in the Russian capital but are not registered there had to apply until March 12 to any local election commission, multi-service centre or online state services portal, in order to be allowed to vote at a place of residence.

Online, videos of ballot stuffing at polling stations across Russian Federation surfaced throughout the day.

Near-final figures put turnout at 67.7 percent, just shy of the 70 percent the Kremlin was reported to have been aiming for before the vote.

The majority of voters see no viable alternative to Putin: he has total dominance of the political scene and the state-run television, where most people get their news, gives lavish coverage of Putin and little airtime to his rivals. The other seven candidates are far behind. She is the only candidate who has openly criticized Putin.

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