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Monday, 27 March, 2000, 07:20 GMT 08:20 UK
Putin elected new Russian president

Election officials in Russia say that the acting President, Vladimir Putin, has won the presidential elections.

Mr Putin had gained an unassailable lead over his nearest rival, the Communist leader, Gennady Zyuganov, winning more than half of the total votes cast -- this was the threshold needed to avoid having to compete in a second ballot against Mr Zyuganov.

Mr Putin was more than twenty points clear of Mr Zyuganov, who has raised questions about the validity of the poll.

A BBC correspondent in Moscow said there was relief, rather than euphoria, at Mr Putin's campaign headquarters.

Earlier, Mr Putin told journalists that a first-round victory would give him a stronger moral mandate. He said his first priority would be to form a government and choose a prime minister.

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