The Russians began voting to choose their president
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The Russians began voting to choose their president

Moscow : Russia | Mar 04, 2012 at 4:47 AM PST
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Day of anti-Putin demostrations across Russia

The Russians began Sunday to go to the polls in the Far East and Siberia for the presidency at the end of which the current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin intends to return to the Kremlin, despite an unprecedented challenge to his regime.

Some 109 million voters are eligible to vote across Russia. After the Far East and Siberia, polling stations opened at 8 am local time in other Russian regions, and initial estimates will be known to 21 hours (19 hours in Paris) after the last polls closed in Kaliningrad.

Vladimir Putin, the favorite of this election, is credited with about 60% of the vote, according to recent polls published in late February. It is competing against four candidates: Communist Gennady Zyuganov (second in the polls), the populist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, a newcomer in politics, and the centrist Sergei Mironov.

The strong man of Russia is still facing an unprecedented wave of protest since the December parliamentary elections, plagued by massive fraud, according to the opposition. Faced with this challenge, some 180,000 web-monitoring cameras have been installed in 90,000 polling stations (a total of 95,000) in Russia, Putin's initiative to prevent electoral fraud.

An idea greeted with skepticism by the Election Observation Mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Russia, the web-cameras can not film the process of counting ballots. First of fraud have already been noted in Vladivostok Sunday, according to the local Communist Party.

MUTLIPLES REPORTED FRAUD

Opposition parties and a Russian NGO denounce fraud in many offices across the country. "The same people vote in polling station No. 2164 and 2166" in Moscow, says on its website the Democratic Party Yabloko, which many observers deployed across Russia.

"In Vladivostok, office No. 155, voters have discovered [arrived] they had already voted," still identifies the party, whose candidate, Grigory Yavlinsky, was disqualified for election in late January, on the grounds irregularities in collecting two million signatures of support. The Communist Party denounced him as a series of frauds, like the one committed by its observers in a polling station in the Kirov region, where a bundle of ballots has been cast in the ballot box.

The NGO Golos, which performs an interactive card fraud online (www.kartanarusheniy.ru) in cooperation with the Russian edition of Forbes magazine, identified on its side around 12:30 Moscow time (10:30 Paris) several hundred violations.

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Russian PM Putin and his wife Lyudmila greet an election official after arriving at a polling station in Moscow
Russian PM Putin and his wife Lyudmila greet an election official after arriving at a polling station in Moscow
Nazish Fatima is based in Rāwalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan, and is a Reporter for Allvoices.
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