Russia Elections: Putin's Party Gains Parliamentary Majority Yet Again

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Elections in Russia concluded on Sunday, 19 September, with Vladimir Putin's United Russia party getting 50 percent of the votes, and thereby a majority in the parliament.

Putin, the founder of the party and current President thanked the people of Russia for their "trust" in the ruling party, even as the opposition claimed the polls to be fraudulent.

The victory of the United Russia party means that it will have more than two thirds of the seats in the 450-member lower house of the Russian parliament. The next largest party is the Communist Party at reportedly 19 percent votes, their share improving by about 6 percent from the previous elections. Candidates fighting against United Russia in the capital had been ahead in more than half of 15 electoral districts, but all of them lost after electronic votes were added in, Reuters reported.

Opposition Claims fraud

As some of the critics of the ruling government, like Alexei Navalny, were jailed, branded as extremists and prevented from contesting the elections, pre-vote surveys had shown a discontent with Putin's government. However, these elections, they secured only 4 percent less votes than last elections, BBC reported.

The online voting system has been claimed by the opposition to have been manipulated, with Communist candidate Valery Rashkin calling the elections a "disgrace and a crime".

Up to 200 Communist protesters who felt cheated gathered for a demonstration in Moscow on Monday evening as police looked on, Reuters reported.

The US State Department also called the election environment "not conducive" to fair elections.

The Electoral Commission has denied any such claims and said that the elections have been "clean and transparent". The Commission's head Ella Pamfilova reiterated that the elections were fair.

(With inputs from Reuters and BBC )

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