President Putin’s United Russia Party has secured more than 60 per cent of the vote according to early results in the legislative election. The Communist Party, the nationalist LDPR and Fair Russia have also won enough of the vote to join them in parliament. More than 100-million Russians were eligible to vote at 96 000 polling stations across the vast nation, to choose 450 representatives for the lower house of parliament – or Duma.
But inclement conditions and claims of electoral malpractice did not seem to have deterred the electorate from making their mark. Despite heated exchanges between Western Europe and Moscow, a handful of election observers from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe are there.
Opposition politicians and the independent observers GOLOS have already alleged multiple voting, and pressure to choose United Russia. But President Putin maintains the vote is democratic. And election officials report turnout to be much higher than in 2003.