Setback for Putin, returns to power with slashed majority

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Vladimir Putin
Moscow, Dec 5: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin suffered a bad dent in his carefully groomed image as his ruling United Russia party returned to power with a sharply slashed majority, winning just 238 seats in the 450-strong sixth State Duma, the country's lower house of Parliament.

The man, who has tightened his grip on the nations for nearly 12 years, faced a humiliating setback with the preliminary results after the counting of 96 per cent votes showing his party garnering just over 50 per cent of the votes.

Chairman of the Central Election Commission Vladimir Churov predicted that Putin's party would get 238 out of the Duma's 450 seats, a far cry compared to his previous vote where he swept to a two-thirds majority in the lower house.

Though Putin was certainly expected to retain his majority in the lower house and sure to win next March's presidential election, the Russian electorate gave a shock to him and his comrade-in-arms, Dmirty Medvedev, reflecting a strong public frustration with the lack of political competition, growing complaints of corruption and widening gulf between the rich and the poor.

The Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF), which got on Sunday more than 19 per cent, would have 92 seats in the Duma, 35 more than it held previously.

A Just Russia Party of Ex-upper house chairman Sergei Mironov, positioning itself as Social-democratic with European values has emerged on the third spot and is expected to get 64 seats against 38 it had in the old Duma, Churov said.

PTI 

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