Russia’s ruling United Russia party had cruised to an easy victory in parliamentary polls that could pave the way for President Vladimir Putin to glide to a fourth term in 2018 elections, partial results showed.
Sunday’s ballot for the 450-seat State Duma was smooth sailing for authorities desperate to avoid a repeat of mass protests last time round and eager to increase their dominance as Russia faces the longest economic crisis of Putin’s rule.
“We can announce already with certainty that the party secured a good result, that it won,” Putin said after polls closed.
“The situation is tough and difficult but the people still voted for United Russia,” he said on state television.
With 90 percent of the votes counted, the United Russia party had 54.3 percent of votes, securing it at least 338 seats in the 450-member parliament, up from 238 previously, according to results announced early Monday.
It was followed by the Communists and the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party, on 13.5 percent and 13.3 percent respectively, and A Just Russia, which received 6.2 percent, results published by the election commission showed.
Those four parties – which made up the last parliament and all back the Kremlin – were the only ones to clear the five percent threshold needed to claim a share of the one-half of seats up for grabs.
The vote comes as Putin’s approval ratings remain high at around 80 percent and authorities appear to be banking on trouble-free presidential elections in two years.
Results indicated that liberal opposition groups would not make it into parliament, with neither the Yabloko party, nor the Parnas party, headed by former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov, having secured enough votes to win a seat.
The other half of the deputies are being elected on a constituency basis after a change to the election law.
With only a fraction of the votes counted, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev confidently said that his party would end up with an “absolute majority” in the Duma.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team
19-09-2016 | 11:22