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The leader of Russia's Communist Party, who came a distant second
The leader of Russia's Communist Party, who came a distant second in the presidential election, has called for a special commission to be set up to investigate ballot rigging in the March 2 vote.

Gennady Zyuganov garnered 17.72% in the presidential election, well behind Dmitry Medvedev, incumbent leader Vladimir Putin's chosen successor, who won 70.28%. Western observers said the vote was flawed, but broadly reflected the will of voters.

"We believe that a special commission of deputies from the State Duma [lower house of parliament], members of the Federation Council [upper house] and the Kremlin administration must be set up to investigate the facts relating to the election's total falsification," Zyuganov told reporters at a Communist Party conference near Moscow.

The party leader said he has already filed official requests to relevant authorities on setting up the commission, but has received no reply.

The other two candidates in the election, ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky and pro-Western Democratic Party leader Andrei Bogdanov, received 9.34% and 1.29% respectively.

Russian election officials and monitors from the ex-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States members said the polls had taken place without serious violations.

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


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