Vladimir Putin and his supporters are celebrating victory in Russian elections, that will give him a third presidential term after spending the last four years as the country’s PM.
With more than 99% of the ballots counted, he secured nearly 64% of the vote, election officials say.
Mr Putin told supporters in Moscow he had won in an open and honest battle.
But Golos, a leading independent election watchdog, said the polls could not be considered fair and open.
It said there were instances of forced voting, numerous reports of “carousel” voting – in which voters cast multiple ballots – and that campaigning had been insufficiently competitive.
“Such elections cannot be called fair, just and open according to the Russian constitution and international standards”, a Golos spokeswoman said at a news conference on Monday morning.
The group put Mr Putin’s count at just over 50% – far less than the official figure given by the election commission.
Opposition groups have also alleged widespread fraud, and plan a protest rally in Moscow later on Monday.Continue Reading on www.bbc.co.uk