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Setback for Putin as Duma vote plunges

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Setback for Putin as Duma vote plunges

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There has been a major shift in Russia’s political landscape after the ruling party of President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin suffered significant losses in the country’s general election. As counting neared completion it was set to win around 50 percent of the vote, down from 64 percent four years ago. That would leave the party with a slim 13 seat majority.

The Communists were the main beneficiaries, on around 19 percent, up from 11 percent last time. It is a remarkable turnaround for a party that seemed consigned to history in the early the post-Soviet years.

With almost all the votes counted this was how the parties stood:

UNITED RUSSIA 49.7

COMMUNISTS 19.15

LDPR 11.66

JUST RUSSIA 13.17

YABLOKO 3.22

PATRIOTS 0.96

RIGHT CAUSE 0.59

The turnout was on course to be just over 60 pecent, about 3 percent lower than the previous poll.

United Russia won 238 seats, ceding 77 seats to their rivals. They do not have a big enough majority in the Duma to push through constitutional changes.

It is also big seback for Putin’s bid to reclaim the presidency in an election in March.