Putin Re-Elected as Russian President

Vladimir Putin wins fourth presidential term gains massive mandate by clinching 77% of votes

Certainty in European elections has been in scant supply recently, but even the most left-field predictions for yesterday's Russian presidential race would have had a hard time backing anyone other than Vladimir Putin.

Opposition leader Navalny is expected to call for anti-Putin protests demanding a re-run of an election he says was neither free nor fair.

"What, am I going to sit here until I am 100 years old? No".

"Listen to me. It seems to me that what you are saying is a bit amusing", he told reporters Sunday night when asked if he saw himself running for president again in 2030. His most vocal opponent, anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny, was barred from running.

Russian voters gave Putin a resounding approval for a fourth term as president, with figures from the Central Election Commission (CEC) on Monday showing him winning with 76.68 per cent of the vote, his highest score ever, despite opposition activists highlighting a number of cases of vote rigging.

According to the chairman of the Russian Central Election Commission, 73.37 million people voted in the elections.

"Our people always unite in the trying hour".

At odds with the West over Syria, Ukraine, allegations of Russian election meddling and cyberattacks and the poisoning in Britain of a former Russian spy and his daughter, relations between Moscow and the West are at a post Cold War low. His re-election comes amid spiraling tensions with the West, with the latest standoff sparked by a suspected nerve-agent poisoning in the United Kingdom.

Hammerson rejects £5bn French takeover which threatens Intu deal
Shopping centres face fierce competition from online shopping giants such as Amazon , driving consolidation in the sector. The cash-and-shares approach represented a 40.7% premium of Hammerson's share price on Friday of 437.1p per share.

Selfie competitions, giveaways, food festivals and children's entertainers were laid on at polling stations in a bid to entice voters.

But employees at state and private companies, as well as students, said they had come under other pressure to vote.

How long Putin wants to stay in power is uncertain.

Analysts said Putin used tensions with the West to rally support and suggested that armed with a strong new mandate, he could push through further punitive measures against dissenters.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which observed the polls, said the election was conducted "in an orderly manner" but criticised irregularities related to vote secrecy and insufficient transparency in counting ballots.

The activist went on to describe all of Sobchak's latest activities as "despicable and hypocritical" and then, while still live on internet broadcast, he said that a few months ago Sobchak visited him at home and told him and his wife, Yulia, that she had been offered "a tremendous sum of money" for agreeing to participate in the presidential elections and that she did not know what to do.

Navalny's movement and the non-governmental election monitor Golos reported ballot stuffing, repeat voting and Putin supporters being bussed into polling stations en masse.

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