The Latest: Russian authorities punish ballot stuffing
MOSCOW – The Latest on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s re-election victory (all times local):
Russian election authorities have annulled voting results in five districts as they investigate ballot stuffing and other problems in the presidential election.
Central election commission chair Ella Pamfilova outlined to reporters Monday authorities’ efforts to fight violations and hold a transparent election.
Pamfilova denied any incidents of observers being attacked or blocked from polling stations, despite videos posted online.
She insisted that there were “at least two times fewer” violations than in the last presidential vote in 2012, which was marred by problems.
Observers in this election reported widespread cases of ballot stuffing and voters coerced by their employers to cast ballots.
Pamfilova said that with 99.8 percent of votes counted, President Vladimir Putin has 76.7 percent of the vote, his highest score ever. The other seven candidates are far behind.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s crushing re-election victory puts his opponents in a tough spot.
They gathered widespread examples of apparent voting violations in Sunday’s vote, but it’s unlikely to seriously damage Putin given his widespread support.
With 99.8 percent of the vote counted, results showed Putin won almost 77 percent of the vote, well up from his showing in the last election in 2012.
His closest rival, communist Pavel Grudinin, had less than 12 percent. The only candidate to openly criticize Putin in the campaign, TV star Ksenia Sobchak, got less than 2 percent.
Putin’s most serious foe, opposition leader Alexei Navalny, was barred from the race. He clashed publicly with Sobchak on Sunday night, accusing her of being a Kremlin stooge.
Opposition groups plan a rally Monday in Moscow.