Home International Russian parliamentary elections end with pro-Kremlin party’s victory

Russian parliamentary elections end with pro-Kremlin party’s victory

By Xinhua

Moscow : The United Russia party led by President Vladimir Putin is still leading in the elections of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, with more than half the votes counted early Monday.

The party has won 63.1 percent, with 72.5 percent of ballots counted, partial results released by the Central Election Commission (CEC) Monday dawn showed.

The United Russia, which will secure an overwhelming majority in the parliament, will nominate its candidates for next March’s president elections on Dec. 17, news agencies reported, citing party sources.

“A new Putin’s majority” has been formed in the country’s political system, Itar-Tass cited Dmitry Ivanov, director general of the Agency of Political Technologies as saying at a press conference early on Monday.

Other parties that have cleared the seven-percent threshold to enter the parliament include the Communist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), and the Fair Russia.

Boris Gryzlov, leader of the United Russia and also speaker of the lower house of parliament, said President Putin had congratulated the United Russia on its victory.

“Putin congratulated the United Russia on the victory and thanked the State Duma members for their work in the past four years. He said this work is efficient,” Gryzlov was quoted by Itar-Tass news agency as saying.

Gryzlov said the party will focus on eliminating poverty and raising pensions in the new State Duma.

Putin, who refused to be a party member but led the United Russia in the run-up, has called on the 108 million eligible voters to cast their ballots for the party, saying the elections will set the tune for next March’s presidential election, when he is expected to step down due to constitutional ban on a third continuous term.

LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky has also expressed his satisfaction at the initial results.

“At any rate, we are already happy that it is more than seven percent, and we were sure it would be like that. Because these are just initial figures, we are certain they will rise to 12 or 13 percent,” Zhirinovsky said in an interview with national television Channel 1.

Russia’s Communist party, however, has pledged to contest the results.

The United Russia party may obtain 306 of the 450 seats in the State Duma according to ballots, Public Opinion Study Center Chairman Leonid Davydov said.

The Communist Party may get 57 seats, the LDPR 45, and the Fair Russia party 42, he said.

Voting was held in 96,000 polling stations scattered across the vast country from 2000 GMT on Saturday in the far eastern region of Kamchatka to 1800 GMT on Sunday in Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave located between Poland and Lithuania.

Turnout has topped 60 percent, Central Elections Commission Chairman Vladimir Churov said. Turnout was 55.75 percent in the elections of 2003.