Putin expects tight presidential race
Vladimir Putin has conceded that he may not be able to win next month's presidential election in the first round of voting.
There would be "nothing worrying" about a second round, the Russian leader said yesterday, for the first time admitting that he was ready for such an eventuality. Mr Putin, who after four years as Prime Minister is standing for a return to the Kremlin as President, has faced a growing protest movement since his United Russia party was accused of dirty tricks in recent parliamentary elections.
He needs over 50 per cent of the vote to avoid a run-off in the presidential contest. With the protest mood growing, polls now put his popularity at between 40 and 50 per cent. This, along with closer scrutiny of potential voting irregularities, means a second round is a real possibility.
Facing Mr Putin in the election are three long-term challengers from the Communist Party, and two other supposed opposition parties that actually function with tacit Kremlin support. There is also the billionaire oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov, who is running on a liberal, pro-business platform. He too has faced accusations of being a Kremlin plant aimed at drawing support away from more radical leaders of the street protests.
The next major protest is planned this Saturday in Moscow, when it will be clear if December's mass rallies in the Russian capital, demonstrating against Mr Putin and his party, were a flash in the pan or the start of a sustained challenge to his authority.
- 2 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face the death penalty
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 Robert Mugabe eats a zoo for 'obscene' 91st birthday party
Michelle Rodriguez: Fast & Furious actor apologises after telling 'minorities' to stop taking on 'white' roles
British are sexually uptight, dirty and drink too much – according to Spanish book
Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face the death penalty
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...
£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...
£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...