Pro-Kremlin party leads in regional elections in Russia

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Moscow, Oct 13 (UNI) Pro-Kremlin United Russia party is leading in yesterday's local and regional elections, Russian Central Election Commission said quoting preliminary results today.

Russia held parliamentary polls in five regions - the North Caucasus republic of Chechnya, the Kemerovo Region in southwest Siberia, the Trans-Baikal Territory, the Irkutsk Region in southeast Siberia, and the Sakhalin Region in the Far East.

In Chechnya, which held early polls to elect a one-chamber legislature after the previous legislative body dissolved in June, United Russia gained right per cent of the vote, according to preliminary results.

The only other party to make it into the legislature was another pro-Kremlin party, A Just Russia.

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov told reporters the turnout in the republic was close to 100 per cent, despite being hit by an earthquake on Saturday, which left 13 dead and more than 100 injured.

''Chechnya has finished the creation of its main legislative body in a constitutional way, and demonstrated its desire to live in peace and prosperity,'' RIA Novosti news agency quoted Mr Kadyrov as saying.

''Almost 100 per cent of population went to polls to express their will,'' he said.

In Kemerovo, the dominant party scored about 85 per cent of votes, in the Baikal area and Sakhalin 55 per cent, and about 50 per cent in Irkutsk.

Rights groups and international monitors have reported unfair media access for political groups and other irregularities during election campaigns in Russia in recent years.

Election officials said United Russia candidates were also leading in yesterday's municipal and mayoral elections in regions and cities across the country.

UNI XC RJ NS1719

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