Sunday, 24 Oct, 2021

International

Russia election

Putin's party heads for victory amid vote fraud claims

International Desk | banglanews24.com
Update: 2021-09-20 15:11:09
Putin's party heads for victory amid vote fraud claims [photo collected]

President Vladimir Putin's United Russia party looks set for another big win in the country's parliamentary elections, despite a drop in support.

The party claimed victory a few hours after the polls closed on Sunday evening.

Putin's most vocal critics were barred from running in the election, and candidates who were allowed to stand were heavily vetted.

There have been numerous allegations of ballot stuffing and forced voting.

But Russia's electoral commission rejected claims of widespread irregularities.

Initial results showed that with 80% of votes counted, United Russia had won nearly 50%, followed by the Communist Party with about 20%.

A senior United Russia official, Andrei Turchak, said his party would win more than 300 of the 450 seats in the State Duma.

The partial results show that despite Mr Putin's party easily retaining its majority in parliament, it did lose some ground. In 2016, the party won 54% of the vote.

The Communists, who broadly support Putin's initiatives in the parliament, saw their support grow by 8%. But their leader, Gennady Zyuganov, has alleged widespread violations, including ballot-stuffing, according to the Associated Press news agency.

Concerns over living standards and allegations of corruption from jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny have likely affected support for Mr Putin's party.

But he remains popular with many Russians who credit him with standing up to the West and restoring national pride.

The election saw a number of cities introduce electronic voting.

For the first time since 1993, election observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) were not present due to limitations imposed by Russian authorities.

As of Sunday evening, independent vote monitoring group Golos - which the Russian authorities have branded "a foreign agent" - said it had tracked more than 4,500 reports of voting violations.

Russia's interior ministry meanwhile told reporters that it had not registered any "significant violations".

During the election, long queues were seen outside some polling stations on videos published on social media.

Interfax news agency reported that this was especially the case outside police stations. The Kremlin spokesman rejected claims that it was an indication of people being put under pressure to vote.

But Golos said it had received "numerous messages" from people who said they were being forced by their employers to vote, as well as allegations of electoral fraud.

In parts of east Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists, residents with Russian citizenship were allowed to vote, with some crossing the border to visit Russian polling stations.

Source: BBC

BDST: 1510 HRS, SEP 20, 2021
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