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Russia's Central Election Commission (CEC) announced the official results Friday
Russia's Central Election Commission (CEC) announced the official results Friday of the March 2 presidential elections with Kremlin-backed Dmitry Medvedev gaining 70.28% of the vote.

The commission said almost 75,000,000 people voted, and over 52,000,000 cast their ballots for current First Deputy Prime Minister Medvedev, 42, the youngest Russian leader since 1917.

The results will be published in government newspapers.

There are no exact results of ballots cast in favor of other candidates, but preliminary data suggest that 17.72% voted for Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov. Nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky received 9.35%, and the leader of the pro-Western Democratic Party, Andrei Bogdanov, - 1.3%.

A deputy CEC head, Stanislav Vavilov, said voter turnout was 69.81%, or 5.42% more than during the December elections to the lower house of parliament.

Europe's main election watchdog, the OSCE, boycotted the polls stating that Russia had imposed restrictions. The head of the PACE monitoring group said Sunday's vote was a "reflection of the will of the electorate, whose democratic potential unfortunately has not been tapped."

Andreas Gross also said unequal access to media put into question the overall fairness of the vote, adding the election "repeats most of the flaws seen in the parliamentary elections last December."

The refusal by the Russian election authorities to register a number of candidates from Russia's opposition due to 'irregularities' in their applications was also cited as a cause for concern by critics of the polls, as was the lack of media coverage for candidates given permission to stand.


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