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We have a winner!

Yes, of course, Putin romped home by a country mile. With 97.5% of the votes counted the (almost) result is as follows…

Vladimir Putin, 71.1% (48.05 million votes)
Nikolai Kharitonov, 13.8% (9.3 million votes)
Sergei Glazyev, 4.1% (2.7 million votes)
Irina Khakamada, 3.8% (2.5 million votes)
Oleg Malyshkin, 2.0% (1.3 million votes)
Sergei Mironov, 0.8% (0.57 million votes)
Votes against all candidates, 3.5% (2.3 million votes)

These figures from ITAR-TASS. Check out their page for scary mugshots of the candidates.

I have very few comments to make on the outcome. Partly because its time for me to go to bed, and partly because there really is very little to say. It’s not like Putin’s victory came as a surprise to anyone. So, I’ll restrict myself to the following two thoughts…

I’m surprised that Irina Khakamada didn’t pick up votes in the Moscow/St Petersburg. I thought her liberal policies would have appealed quite strongly there. Certainly some of the polling from a couple of weeks ago put her at around 10%.

And I would think the Communist Party would be fairly happy with their showing. Although their share of the vote seems low at first glance we need to remember that their long time boss Gennady Zyuganov decided not to run in this election, probably knowing he had no chance to win, or possibly as a part of a deal with Putin. But even with the no-name candidate they did put out (who happens to be named Nikolai Kharitonov) they managed to pull in almost 14% of the vote. If (and in my view its a big if) Putin doesn’t run again in 2008, the Communist Party could find themselves well placed to make a challenge. They won’t be able to win, but they could turn themselves once again into a force to be reckoned with in Russian politics.

Update: Although Irina Khakamada didn’t increase her overall share of the vote through the day, her vote was higher in Moscow than the rest of the country, like I predicted.

Independent liberal Irina Khakamada finished fourth with 3.9 percent. Her best finish was in Moscow, where she was second with 8.02 percent. She finished third in the Sakha republic with 8.74 percent and in Buryatia with 7.21 percent.

Phew. Looks like I’m not quite as dumb as I thought I might be.

Also from the same article, interesting to note that the Communist Party candidate Nikolai Kharitonov picked up more than 50% of the vote in the region he used to work, and more than 80% in the region he was born. Putin himself picked up his second highest vote in his own home town – St Petersburg. All politics is local…

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