Putin secures another term in election lacking serious challengers

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday clinched another term in an election that lacked any serious challengers. 

Russia’s Central Election Commission said Putin garnered 87 percent of the vote to secure another six years in office with nearly 100 percent of precincts reporting.

The chief of the Central Election Commission, Ella Pamfilova, said nearly 76 million people voted for Putin, his highest vote tally ever. After the results were in, Putin said that his win shows an indication of Russia’s “hope” and “trust” in him.

“Of course, we have lots of tasks ahead. But I want to make it clear for everyone: When we were consolidated, no one has ever managed to frighten us, to suppress our will and our self-conscience. They failed in the past and they will fail in the future,” Putin said at a meeting with volunteers.

Western officials and critics of Russia have denounced the elections as a sham, as Russia stifled criticism and opposition to Putin.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address that Putin was “simulating another election.”

“There must be a just retribution for everything the Russian murderers have done in this war and for the sake of Putin’s lifelong power. He is afraid of only one thing – justice. There is no legitimacy in this imitation of elections and there cannot be,” he said.

The French foreign ministry also said that “the conditions for a free, pluralist and democratic election were not met” while Germany’s Foreign Ministry said that “the pseudo-election in Russia is neither free nor fair, the result will surprise nobody,” Reuters reported.

Putin’s top rival, Alexei Navalny, died while serving a 19-year prison sentence last month. Global leaders, including President Biden, have blamed Putin for the death of the opposition leader. During a press conference on Sunday, Putin acknowledged the death of Navalny and said that he supported a prisoner swap for his top rival just days before his death.

The Associated Press contributed.

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