Monday, March 3

Putin-Lite Wins In a Pre-ordained Landslide

Russia had its election and as expected, Dmitry Medvedev is the new President.

Truthout has the full story:

Dmitry Medvedev, President Vladimir Putin's hand-picked successor, won a landslide victory in Russia's presidential polls, preliminary results showed on Monday, as critics charged the vote was rigged.

Medvedev won 70.2 percent of the vote based on results from 98 percent of the country's polling stations, the election commission said.

As results rolled in, Putin and Medvedev celebrated at a rock concert on Red Square in scenes broadcast repeatedly on national television.

"Together we can continue the course set by President Putin.... Together we'll go further. Together we'll win. Hurrah!" Medvedev, dressed in jeans and a leather jacket, told a crowd of supporters beneath driving sleet.

Medvedev, 42, also offered assurances that he would be his own man, including in foreign policy, despite his promise to appoint Putin prime minister.

He said there were no plans to change the president and the prime minister's powers, while "foreign policy, according to the constitution, is determined by the president."

However even before voting began foreign observers had criticised the unfair conditions in which the election was held, with Medvedev given blanket media coverage and liberal opponents prevented from registering.

Both the Communist Party and independent vote-monitoring organisation Golos alleged large-scale violations on voting day.

The only Western observer group not to have boycotted the polls, a group from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, was to give an assessment on Monday, having already described the choice on offer as "limited at best."

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