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Putin's party dominates Russian parliamentary vote

The win paves the way for Russian President Vladimir Putin's fourth term as president in 2018 elections. Photograph: (AFP)

WION Moscow, Russia Sep 18, 2016, 09.16 PM (IST)
The ruling United Russia party cruised to victory with 44.5 percent of the votes in the parliamentary election on Sunday. 

An exit poll showed President Vladimir Putin's party in the lead, despite the longest economic crisis of his 16-year rule.  

"We can announce already with certainty that the party secured a good result, that it won," Putin said after the vote.

The win paves the way for Putin's fourth term as president in 2018 elections. 

So far United Russia has won 66 out the 76 single candidate seats that have been counted so far, the electoral commission said. 

The overall tally for United Russia could be down slightly on the 49 percent they claimed in 2011 but Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that party would still end up with an "absolute majority" in the Duma. 

The nationalist LDPR party was in second place with 15.3 percent, according to the exit poll by state-run pollster VTsIOM. The Communists were in third on 14.9 percent and the Just Russia party was fourth with 8.1 percent.

Liberal opposition parties, the only grouping openly critical of Putin, failed to get over the five percent threshold needed for party representation.

The ruling party faced mass protests last time with many Russians miffed by the near total-power that Kremlin wields. 

But despite a low turnout the numbers were still enough to preserve Putin's dominance in Parliament. 

"The situation is tough and difficult but the people still voted for United Russia," Putin said. 

For the first time since Moscow seized the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in 2014, residents there voted for Russia's parliament.

The vote in Crimea stirred anger in Ukraine, sparking protests in Kiev. 

(WION with inputs from agencies)
 
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