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18 Mar 2018

Putin On Course To Win Fourth Term As President Of Russia

Russians are voting in an election that is likely to return Vladimir Putin for a fourth term as president.

Polls closed in Moscow at 17:00 GMT, with final votes due to be cast an hour later in the far west of the country. More than 100m are eligible to vote.

Exit polls are expected late on Sunday. Mr Putin is hoping for another six-year term and faces seven other candidates.

He said he would see as a success any result that gave him the "right to perform the duties of president."

His comments were carried on national TV as he voted in Moscow.

Mr Putin's rivals include a millionaire communist, Pavel Grudinin, a former reality television host, Ksenia Sobchak, and veteran nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

The main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, has been prohibited from standing, because of a fraud conviction that he has condemned as politically motivated. Mr Navalny has urged voters to boycott the election and has sent thousands of observers to polling stations to watch for possible violations.

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