United Russia gets record seats for constitutional majority
Observers, opposition complain of violations, unfair contest
President Vladimir Putin secured a crushing victory in parliamentary elections that put the United Russia party on course for its biggest-ever majority -- enough to change the constitution at will -- as observers and opposition parties branded it an unfair contest.
Despite Russia’s longest recession in two decades, the pro-Kremlin party is set to gain 343 out of 450 seats in the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, after winning 54 percent of the vote, the Central Election Commission said with 93 percent of ballots counted. Three other loyalist parties, the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party, the Communists and Fair Russia, were the only ones to pass the 5 percent barrier to enter the Duma.
The result cements Putin’s grip on power after the 2011 parliamentary vote and...Read more...