Putin set to sweep to election victory: poll

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Putin set to sweep to election victory: poll

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Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is set for a convincing victory in Sunday’s presidential election, according to the latest voter survey.

A state-run poll of 1,600 eligible voters said Putin will pick up nearly 60 per cent of ballots cast.

Putin, who appeared in a televised debate earlier, is running for a third time for the post he held between 2000 and 2008.

He then swapped jobs with Dmitry Medvedev, now Russia’s outgoing president, to sidestep the constitutional limit of serving no more than two successive terms as head of state.

The same poll puts Putin’s nearest challenger, Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, on 15.1 per cent.

Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov is on 8.7 per cent.

On Monday, Alexander Veshnyakov, the former head of Russia’s Central Elections Commission, criticised prosecutors for failing to pursue voting-fraud cases.

He said the street protests that followed December’s parliamentary elections show that many Russians have “lost faith” in the system.

Demonstrators believe those elections were fixed in favour of Putin’s United Russia party amid allegations of ballot stuffing.