Summary: Putin re-elected President

According to the processed results of the voting at the presidential elections held in Russia on March 14, 2004, Vladimir Putin has been re-elected President of the Russian Federation for a second term.

"Proceeding from the preliminary results from 99% of the district election commissions, Vladimir Putin has been re-elected president of the Russian Federation," Chairman of the Central Election Commission Alexander Veshnyakov said at a concluding press conference on Monday.

The Central Election Commission intends to announce the official outcome of the elections on March 23-24. Practice has shown that the final outcome can only differ from the preliminary results by 0.1 or 0.01%.

According to the current results, Vladimir Putin was supported by 48,918,513 voters, or 71.2% of votes.

Nikolai Kharitonov garnered 9,439,948 voters, or 13.7%, Sergei Glazyev - 2,826,219 voters, or 4.1%.

Irina Khakamada - 2,644,133 voters, or 3.9%; Oleg Malyshkin - 1,393,940 voters, or 2.0%; and Sergei Mironov - 518,834, or 0.8%.

Turnout amounted to 64.3%, Mr. Veshnyakov said. In March 2000, turnout was slightly higher and amounted to 68.7%.

Then, Vladimir Putin gained 52.94% of votes. Communist candidate Gennady Zyuganov was supported by 29.21% and LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky - by 2.7%.

According to Mr. Veshnyakov, the Central Election Commission has received no complaints or reports about any violations of the election law. He highly assessed the system of electronic processing of ballot papers, which was first used at these elections. According to him, no serious complaints were lodged against the electronic system.

The highest number (98.2%) of Vladimir Putin's supporters was registered in Ingushetia. On the whole, the incumbent president received the biggest number of votes in the southern federal district (75.6%).

The Rogozhkino farm in the Rostov region (southern federal district) was the doubtless leader among Vladimir Putin's supporters: nearly all its residents cast their votes in his favour, with a 100%-turnout. Only one out of the 822 voters of the farm did not come to the polling station.

In Chechnya, Vladimir Putin was supported by 92.6% of votes. According to the republic's Election Commission, 538,864 residents of Chechnya participated in the vote, which is about 90% of eligible voters.

Putin's strongest rival Mr. Kharitonov garnered most of the votes in the Belgorod region (the central federal district) - 27.6% while Mr. Putin was backed by 54.8% in the region.

As for elections abroad, voting at all the 153 polling stations outside Russia has been recognised valid. 273,000 Russian citizens took part in the voting. Polling stations in the United States - Los Angeles and San Francisco and Seattle were the last to close, at 7 this morning, Moscow time.

The final results of the voting abroad will be announced later but according to the preliminary results, the majority of Russians, who took part in the voting abroad, have also supported the incumbent head of state.

Vladimir Putin is receiving the first congratulations on his victory. He has been congratulated by French President Jacques Chirac, Chinese leader Hu Jintao, Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski, Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, and Belarussian leader Alexander Lukashenko.

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