Ruling party ahead in Russian elections

Preliminary results from Sunday’s local and regional elections in Russia indicate that the United Russia party won a significant majority of votes throughout the country.

Dmitry Medvedev in 2008

Dmitry Medvedev in 2008

Central Elections Commission official Leonid Ivlev said vote counts on Monday showed the United Russia party won nearly 80% of the local races. These included elections for mayors, as well as regional and city legislatures.

In Russia’s capital of Moscow, the pro-Kremlin United Russia obtained 66% of the vote for city council. The opposition Communist Party came in second, with 13%.

Other parties on the ballot failed to reach the required seven-percent needed to secure a seat.

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said that the victory indicated “the authority the party has acquired from our people in recent years.”

“Only together can we surmount the hardships of the financial crisis,” he said in a statement on his party’s website. “[…] The vote obtained by United Russia demonstrates that we are together and this is most important.”

Some opposition members, however, have claimed fraud in the elections. They have said that they were not given places on the ballot and were prevented from campaigning. At least one party — the liberal Yabloko party — said it will appeal the election results.

The election authorities are expected to release final, official results later this week.

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