MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says he could face a runoff, his first acknowledgement that he may not get enough support for an outright victory in March’s presidential vote.
Putin said at a Wednesday meeting with election monitors that “there is nothing horrible” about a runoff and he’s ready, according to Russian news reports.
Putin won his previous two presidential terms in the first round, but support has dwindled over growing public frustration with rigid controls over the political scene, rampant corruption and rising inequality.
Opinion polls show support for Putin between 40 and 50 percent. He must get more than 50 percent of the vote for the outright victory. If he fails, he will face a runoff three weeks later, most likely with Communist chief Gennady Zyuganov.