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Composition of the outgoing Parliament

The vote that will take place on December 4, will shape up the sixth Duma - the lower chamber of parliament. (The members of the upper house - the Federation Council - are appointed by the President).

The State Duma has 450 seats, with members elected for five-year terms (increased in 2008 from four years). Voters select a party, and parties that receive at least seven percent of the vote are granted seats based on their proportion of the vote, with two seats for parties that get between six and seven percent, and one seat for those who get between five and six percent.

Russia’s seven percent threshold is the second-highest in Europe, after Turkey. Several opposition parties and blocs were denied registration for this election, on the basis of different violations. This has widely been perceived - in Russia and abroad - as politically-motivated and has been criticized by, among others, the European Parliament and the US State Department.

According to official statistics, as of July 1, 2011 there are around 109 million registered voters in Russia. Early voting has already started: on November 18 for the remote and hard-to-get-to regions of Russia, and November 19 for Russians living abroad. They can vote in embassies, consulates and temporary voting booths set up in towns without official Russian representation.The votes should be tallied no later than December 8 on a regional level, and no later than December 19 on a national level. The official results must be published before December 24.

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Seven parties are competing in the Duma election:

russsian elections 2011