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Alkhanov Wins Chechen Election --> Putin with Alu Alkhanov (left) and Ramzan Kadyrov, son of the slain former president 30 August 2004 -- Kremlin-backed candidate Alu Alkhanov has won an overwhelming victory in Chechnya's presidential election.

Speaking in the Chechen capital Grozny today, Chechen election commission head Abdul-Kerim Arsakhanov said Alkhanov is the "absolute leader" of the poll.

"321,271 people voted for candidate Alu Alkhanov, which constitutes 73.78 percent [of all votes]. He is the absolute and unapproachable leader," Arsakhanov said.

Officials said the voter turnout was nearly 80 percent, but little activity was seen at some polling stations.

In a postelection interview with ITAR-TASS news agency, Alkhanov ruled out any possibility of talks with Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov.

At least two rivals of Alkhanov, Abdulla Bugaev and Movsur Khamidov, have alleged irregularities in the voting. A Council of Europe representative in Grozny, Andreas Gross, told the German dpa news agency the vote was "undemocratic."

The election was denounced as a farce by Chechen separatists, who have vowed to oppose Alkhanov.

The poll was called after the May assassination of Moscow-backed President Akhmed-hadji Kadyrov.


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