Friday, 22 Oct, 2021


Putin's party wins majority in Russian elections

International Desk |
Update: 2021-09-21 13:15:16
Putin's party wins majority in Russian elections [photo collected]

Russian President Vladimir Putin's party has won a parliamentary majority following an election marred by reports of fraud.

With almost all of the votes counted, the United Russia party had won nearly 50% of the vote, marking a slight drop-in support from the previous election.

Mr Putin's biggest critics were barred from running, and there were reports of ballot stuffing and forced voting.

Russia's electoral commission rejected claims of widespread irregularities.

With more than 99% of votes counted, United Russia's closest rival, the Communist Party, had about 19% of the vote, according to the election commission.

United Russia's victory means it will have more than two-thirds of the 450 seats in the country's parliament, officials say.

However, despite easily retaining its majority in parliament, the party did lose some ground. In 2016, the party won 54% of the vote.

The Communists, who broadly support Mr Putin's initiatives in the parliament, saw their support grow by about 6%. But their leader, Gennady Zyuganov, has alleged widespread violations, including ballot-stuffing, according to the Associated Press news agency.

The final results will be announced on Friday, Russia's Electoral Commission head Ella Pamfilova said.

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.

In a TV address on Monday, Mr Putin thanked voters for their trust and said United Russia had confirmed its role as the leading party. Supporters of Mr Navalny have called for protests and condemned the result as illegitimate.

The election saw a number of cities introduce electronic voting.

One such city was the capital, Moscow, where some Communist Party candidates lost leads when electronic votes were declared at the last minute.

"I know that such a result is simply not possible," one defeated Communist candidate, Mikhail Lobanov, wrote on Twitter.

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.

A European Union spokesman said the elections were not properly monitored, nor conducted in a free and fair way. The governments of the UK, Germany and the US echoed this.

Source: BBC

BDST: 1311 HRS, SEP 21, 2021

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