Russia’s Kremlin-backed United Russia party is reported to be leading in regional elections being held across the country.With a quarter of ballots counted, the ruling party is said to have around 64 percent of the vote. But opposition candidates and election observers claim there have been significant irregularities. Analyst Dmitry Oreshkin said: “The opposition has been pushed away from the centre, they’re marginalized, they have no access to the media, they can’t even be registered as deputies. They are simply outside the political system of the Russian Federation.” Two months ago President Dmitry Medvedev said “new democratic times were beginning” and promised to break the near-monopoly of United Russia. But the independent poll-watchdog Golos has reported violations on the day and in the pre- election campaign.