Putin's United Russia wins 64% vote, 98% ballots counted

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Moscow, Dec 3 (UNI) President Vladimir Putin's United Russia party today won a landslide victory in the State Duma parliamentary elections.

United Russia had won 64.1 per cent of vote, nearly six times as many as the nearest challenger, the Communist Party.

Announcing this, Russian Election Commission chairman Vladimir Churov told mediapersons 98 per cent of the vote had been counted.

Mr Churov said preliminary results showed the Communists received 11.6 per cent of the vote, the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) 8.2 per cent and the Kremlin loyalist Just Russia 7.8 per cent.

These are the only four parties to have overcome the seven per cent barrier to take seats in the fifth State Duma he said, adding election turnout was about 63 per cent.

Mr Churov said the official results would be announced on December 7-8.

Kimmo Kiljunen, Vice President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said the voting had been fair and democratic.

He told the Ekho Moskvy radio station that some people in Moscow had cast their votes outside the voting booths, but, in his personal opinion, no major violations had taken place.

All the polling stations had been monitored, he added.

Mr Kiljunen did say, however, that he was extremely surprised at reports that some 99 per cent of the electorate had voted for United Russia in Chechnya, Russia's troubled North Caucasus republic.

He pointed out this was in his experience ''impossible.'' UNI

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