Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Homegrown Jihadists: France Sets Out Plan to Monitor Web and Support Families (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Homegrown Jihadists: France Sets Out Plan to Monitor Web and Support Families

Read more

WEB NEWS

Ukrainians turn Russian 'evidence' into meme

Read more

FOCUS

Copenhagen seeks to decriminalise use of cannabis

Read more

FACE-OFF

French president's advisor resigns: A new blow for François Hollande

Read more

ENCORE!

Films as plays, plays as films and TV at the cinema

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Syria: Former hostages recount 10-month ordeal

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

José Bové, Candidate for the EU Commission presidency, Group of the Greens

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Alexis Tsipras, Candidate for the EU Commission presidency, European Left Party

Read more

  • Fatah, Hamas agree to form Palestinian unity government

    Read more

  • New far-right mayor moves to quash Paris region mosque

    Read more

  • Gay marriage, one year on: ‘French civilisation did not crumble’

    Read more

  • Turkish PM offers condolences to descendants of Armenians killed in 1915

    Read more

  • Colombian president reinstates firebrand Bogota mayor

    Read more

  • NYPD public relations campaign on Twitter goes awry

    Read more

  • Russia vows to respond if 'attacked' in Ukraine

    Read more

  • In pictures: Violent protests erupt in Rio

    Read more

  • French hostage Gilberto Rodrigues Leal has died, Islamists say

    Read more

  • 'Pope-mania' hits John Paul II's Polish hometown

    Read more

  • French actress Catherine Deneuve to sell €4 million château

    Read more

  • Chelsea, Atletico draw 0-0 in first leg of Champions League semis

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch offensive in the east after politican 'tortured'

    Read more

  • Echoes of 2pac and Biggie? French rap feud turns violent

    Read more

  • New French film tackles grisly anti-Semitic murder

    Read more

  • Photos link ‘little green men’ in Ukraine to Russian troops

    Read more

  • New anti-radicalisation plans aimed at fighting jihadism

    Read more

Europe

Putin holds comfortable lead ahead of Sunday’s vote

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-03-03

Russian premier Vladimir Putin seems all but certain to win in Sunday's presidential vote, with current opinion polls putting him at 60%. The runner up, Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, trails with only around 15%.

AFP - Vladimir Putin made a show of confidence ahead of Sunday's poll that is set to see him win back the Russian presidency, belittling the opposition as lacking in vision and brushing off protests.

The premier said he has not yet decided whether he wants to stay in power beyond 2018 -- when the presidential mandate he is expected to win will expire -- but saw nothing wrong in principle with such lengthy political dominance.

At a meeting with editors of leading newspapers around a table laden with white wine and snacks Thursday evening, Putin said the protests made him happy and that the opposition's leaders offered nothing substantive.

"I am very happy about this situation, because that means that the authorities... have to actively react to what is happening in the country, to people's sentiments, and to meet expectations," he said.

Tens of thousands of people have staged several rallies in Moscow over the past three months against unfair elections and Putin's monopoly on power, and many plan to demonstrate next Monday, a day after the presidential poll.

"I think this is a very good experience for Russia," Putin said, adding that the protests are mostly directed against his majority party United Russia, rather than himself personally.

"You said the urban population is against. They are not against," Putin told one of the editors, who said opinion polls indicated the urban middle class is rejecting Putin.

"There are less of my supporters (there), that is true. But all in all, my supporters are in the majority, even in large cities."

The latest opinion polls predict a first-round victory for Putin in the election with support of nearly 60 percent, and the runner-up Communist party leader Gennady Zyuganov trailing with only around 15 percent of votes.

Putin has not participated in political debates with four other presidential candidates, instead sending his campaign representatives to talk shows while he kept an image of a busy prime minister travelling all over the country.

And while talking about his own series of articles on domestic and foreign policy, Putin said his opponents lack vision and offer nothing but empty slogans.

"People in the opposition... have not offered any interesting, weighed, and thought-out steps to develop the country," he said, adding that "debates are not important" in his position, rather "results of previous work".

Asked whether it is normal to be in power for such a long time, Putin commented: "It's normal if everything is working out, if people like it."

Putin, who turns 60 this year, can under the law serve as president for two more consecutive terms, which would prolong his rule until 2024, when he will turn 72.

The presidential mandate is now six years, due to constitutional changes that expanded the term from the four years served by outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev.

"I don't know if I want to stay for over 20 years. I have not decided this for myself yet," said Putin, who has now been in power for over 12 years as president and prime minister.

In a tense run-up to the election, the opposition accused the authorities of seeking to rig the polls while Putin has in turn accused his opponents of planning to stuff ballots and then claim they are illegitimate.

Russian prosecutors on Friday warned an independent election monitoring group that it was illegal to hold a planned online parallel vote count during the presidential ballot.

Monitoring group Golos (Voice or Vote) had intended to put text-message reports of results from individual polling stations online in real time during the election as a safeguard against the potential falsification of vote-count protocols.

Western-funded Golos been criticised by Putin who has accused it of being part of Western attempts to influence Russian politics. It has also been repeatedly targeted by the authorities.
 

Date created : 2012-03-02

  • RUSSIA

    Thousands turn out for pro-Putin rallies

    Read more

  • RUSSIA

    Russian people need more power, Putin says

    Read more

  • RUSSIA

    Russian church head urges political action after protests

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)