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2 Mar, 2008 17:21

Medvedev leads Russian election

Dmitry Medvedev is shaping as Russia’s next president according to early results from Sunday’s election. The Central Election Commission says he’s gained 67.5% of votes, with 33% counted so far. His closest rival, Communist Gennady Zyuganov, has won just

Liberal Democrat Vladimir Zhirinovsky is in third with 11.1% and Democratic Party leader Andrey Bogdanov has 1.4%.

Around 100 million Russians are eligible to vote at around 100,000 polling stations. 64% of eligible voters turned out, according to election officials.

Outgoing president Vladimir Putin was in holiday mode when he voted.

“When I was leaving my home, I saw rain falling. We in Russia believe that it brings good luck,” he told reporters.

Putin and Medvedev later shared lunch with State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov and Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, among others.

At 1400 Moscow time, 48% of eligible voters had cast a ballot.

The head of the Central Election Commission, Vladimir Churov, says he’s pleased with the turnout so far.

“The average turnout in all regions is three to five percent higher, compared to the parliamentary polls in December and the presidential election in 2004,” stated the chairman of Central Election Committee Vladimir Churov.

More than 300 international observers, from 32 countries, are monitoring voting across Russia.