Putin wins 64% of Russian vote
Moscow - Russian leader Vladimir Putin crushed his rivals in presidential elections by taking almost 64% of the vote, according to results published on Monday based on an almost complete vote count.
Putin won 63.97% of the vote in Sunday's polls, well ahead of his nearest rival the Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov who won 17.18%. This was based on a count of the vote from 98.47% of polling stations.
Third place went to tycoon-turned-politician Mikhail Prokhorov with 7.7%, a performance seen as a breakthrough as the billionaire had only announced his intention to run late last year.
Maverick ultra-nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a fixture in past elections, came fourth with 6.24% while former upper house speaker Sergei Mironov trailed in fifth place with 3.84%.
Turnout was 64%, according to the results published by the central election commission.
Putin's results were even stronger than predicted by opinion polls, even if they were down slightly on the ratings of over 70% that he won in the 2004 presidential elections and then by his protégé Dmitry Medvedev in 2008.
The Russian strongman is now set for an inauguration expected in May to formally regain the Kremlin post he occupied for two terms from 2000 to 2008 before becoming prime minister under the presidency of Medvedev.