United Russia Expects Putin to Win Presidency Outright, IFX Says

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin should win next March’s presidential election in the first round, Interfax reported, citing a senior official in the premier’s United Russia party.

“As soon as we lose our certainty, there will be nothing left for us to do,” the news service cited Andrei Vorobyov as saying.

Putin, who may be in power potentially for almost a quarter century if he runs for president in 2018 as well, will need to win more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid a run-off contest. United Russia won 49.5 percent of yesterday’s parliamentary elections to the State Duma, down from 64.3 percent in 2007, the Central Election Commission said, citing preliminary results from 96 percent of votes counted.

Putin, 59, was president from 2000 to 2008, when he handed over to Dmitry Medvedev because of a constitutional bar on serving three consecutive terms. Medvedev agreed in September to step aside to allow Putin to return to the Kremlin next May.

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