Putin party wins landslide in Russian elections

President Vladimir Putin's party won a resounding victory in Russia's parliamentary elections, results showed Monday, but the opposition claimed massive vote violations and prepared protests.

Putin party wins landslide in Russian elections
With close to 80 percent of ballots counted, Putin's United Russia party had secured 63.3 percent of the vote and was on course to winning a two-thirds majority, the central elections commission said.

The Communist Party trailed far behind with 11.7 percent of the vote and only two other parties garnered enough votes to win seats in the State Duma lower house of parliament.

The results were hailed by the Kremlin, which had portrayed the elections as a referendum on Putin's record as he stakes his claim to retain a major say in running the country after standing down next year.

"He and the party have received overwhelming support. This is extremely important from the point of view of continuation ... of the reforms started in the last eight years," said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Peskov confirmed that Putin will "transfer his presidency to another man" following elections in March and United Russia announced that it will nominate its candidate for the presidency at a congress on December 17.

But the Communist Party rejected the outcome and said it would ask the Supreme Court to rule on the validity of the vote, citing some 10,000 violations.

"We do not trust these figures announced by the central elections commission and we will conduct a parallel count," Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov was quoted by Interfax as saying.

The new parliament is shaping up to be "a subsidiary of the Kremlin, a rubber-stamp factory, an annex of the government," Zyuganov said.

Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, who heads The Other Russia opposition movement, dismissed the elections as a "farce" and "rigged from the start".

Protests were planned on Monday in Saint Petersburg and in Moscow where Kasparov was to lay a wreath outside the Central Elections Commission to "mourn the death of Russian democracy", the party press service said.

Kasparov spent five days in jail last week for holding an unauthorised anti-Kremlin march.

Seven other parties, including the liberal opposition, failed to cross the seven-percent threshold for a seat. It was the first time since the Soviet collapse in 1991 that the liberal opposition failed to win a single seat.

" "There is no doubt that these elections were not free. They were dishonest and unfair. The result is that this parliament will not be legitimate," said former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov, who plans to stand in the presidential election in March.

The campaign was marred by accusations that the Kremlin had rigged the contest, using controversial new election laws and state media to ensure a triumph for the president's party.

The United States called on authorities to investigate claims of vote-rigging.


Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Aralık 2007, 12:47
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