Putin congratulates Medvedev on his election victory

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Moscow, Mar 3: President Vladimir Putin congratulated his chosen successor, Dmitry Medvedev, on his landslide victory shown by preliminary results in yesterday's presidential election. "Such a victory carries a lot of obligations," Putin said appearing with Medvedev at an open-air election concert in Red Square near the Kremlin after polling booths closed.

This victory will serve as a guarantee that the course we have chosen, the successful course we have been following over the past eight years, will be continued, he declared. Mr Putin congratulated Dmitry Medvedev and wished him luck, stressing that the vote had been carried in ''strict accordance with the Constitution.'' On his part, Medvedev vowed to continue Putin"s policy. "I would like to thank everyone who voted for me, and also those who voted for other candidates," he said, adding ''together we represent almost two-thirds of our country." "This means we are not indifferent to our future, this means we can continue the path proposed by Vladimir Putin. Together we will move further forward, together we will achieve victory," he said.

Earlier Putin said he would accept the post of Prime Minister if Medvedev was elected President.

According to the latest preliminary results, announced by Russian Central Election Commission, Medvedev received 68.72 per cent of the vote with 60 per cent of ballots counted. The CEC said Communist party leader Gennady Zyuganov received 18.41 per cent, LDPR"s ultranationalist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky - 10.26 per cent and Democratic Party leader Andrei Bogdanov - 1.33 per cent.

Turnout was around 65 per cent, according to Central Election Commission figures. In their first reactions to the election results, Zyuganov and Zhirinovsky said they may contest the results in court, citing election irregularities.

Communist Party complained of the mass violaions of voting procedures.

''We will go to the courts,'' Itar-Tass quoted Zyuganov as saying. ''We have never seen this sort of impudence before, this kind of ballot box stuffing. This is a new era,'' Party Central Committee secretary Valery Rashkin told journalists.

The Kremlin dismissed the claims of fraud as baseless. The CEC chairman Vladimir Churov said, ''We will see, if they go to court,'' adding the CEC had a 100 per cent victory rate in Russian courts.


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