Vladimir Putin to lead Russia for another six years

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Moscow, March 19 : Russians voted on Sunday in an election that saw Vladimir Putin secure an expected victory in the presidential election by winning 71.97 per cent of votes with 21.33 per cent of ballots counted, the Central Election Commission said.

According to BBC, the scale of victory — which had been widely predicted — was a marked increase in his share of the vote from 2012, when he won 64 per cent.

A Russian state exit poll gave him 73.9 per cent of the vote, easily defeating his closest competitor. Main opposition leader Alexei Navalny was barred from the race.

Earlier in the day, several media reports suggested that the voter turnout in Russian presidential race was set to top 2012 figures.

The turnout was on course to surpass figures registered in the previous ballot in 2012, an official from the electoral committee said.

Nikolay Bulayev of the Central Election Commission said 34 per cent of eligible voters had made their way to polling stations by midday Moscow time, nine hours before counting was due to begin in central Russia.