Russian Federation to develop multi-party system: Putin

Posted September 24, 2016

Russian President Vladimir Putin's political party, United Russia, has won a majority in the country's parliamentary elections.

With the results near final, the Central Election Commission said that United Russia will receive a total of 343 mandates (76.22 percent of the seats in parliament), reports state-run TASS news agency.

Russia's last parliamentary elections in 2011 had ended in mass protests against the president - who has been in power for 17 years, either as president or prime minister - with allegations over ballot box fraud.

As expected, the ruling United Russia Party will retain its absolute majority in Russia's lower house, State Duma.

It's an enormous gain, more than 100 seats, for the party that held a majority in the previous parliament, and gives it enough strength to amend the constitution on its own.

In the previous election, voter turnout was artificially high and Moscow Times reports that 5.7 million votes for United Russia were actually fake. The Communists will have 42 - a sharp drop from 92 - the nationalist Liberal Democrats 39 and A Just Russia 23.

According to preliminary results, the voter turnout at the election stands at 47.18%.

Golos independent election monitors said in a statement on Monday that "there were fewer incidents of gross direct falsification than in 2011" but that the vote was "far from what can truly be called free and fair" because of the ruling party's domination of the campaign.

Alluding to the spluttering economy, which is forecast to shrink this year by at least 0.3 percent, Putin said: "We know that life is hard for people, there are lots of problems, lots of unresolved problems".

"In any case there already is full confidence that the elections are nonetheless quite legitimate", Pamfilova said. "Nevertheless, we have this result".

Golos, an independent monitoring group, said it received nearly 700 complaints, such as ballot stuffing and multiple voting, including one in which a bus full of workers was seen at seven polling stations in Moscow.

Russia's fourth major party, the social-democratic A Just Russia, received 6.17 per cent, the elections committee announced.

In Russia, each person over the age of 18 is eligible to vote, except for prisoners and legally incapable persons.

Russian President Vladimir Putin casts a ballot at a polling station during a parliamentary election in Moscow, Russia on September 18, 2016.