Electoral turnout for Russia’s presidential poll on Sunday exceeded 15 percent in the first two hours of voting, the Central Election Commission said on Sunday.
“Electoral turnout reached 15.3 percent as of 10.00 a.m. Moscow time (06:00 GMT),” Stanislav Vavilov, deputy chairman of the Central Election Commission, said.
Russians are voting on Sunday to elect a president for the fifth time in the nation’s post-Soviet history. Putin faces four opponents, none of which, analysts say, is likely to prove a serious threat to his bid to return to the Kremlin after working as prime minister for the past four-years.
Putin was president from 2000 to 2008 but was forced to stand down by the Constitution, which limits the president to two “consecutive” terms.
Some 110 million Russian citizens, including 2 million expatriates around the world, are eligible to vote in the election. The winner will serve a six-year presidential term and not four as was previously the case.
Voting will end after polling stations close in Russia’s westernmost Kaliningrad exclave at 9:00 p.m. Moscow time (5:00 p.m. GMT) on Sunday.
Results of the exit polls will be announced after voting is finished and the first preliminary official results are expected to be made public by midnight Sunday/Monday (20:00 GMT Sunday) or in the early hours of Monday morning.