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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia's central election commission confirms poll results

RIA Novosti

08/12/2007 18:26 MOSCOW, December 8 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Central Election Commission declared the December 2 parliamentary polls valid and confirmed the official results on Saturday.

Four parties made it into the fifth State Duma, Russia's lower house.

The pro-Kremlin United Russia party received 64.3% of the vote, and will take 315 seats in the 450-seat legislature.

The Communists gained 11.57% and will have 57 seats, followed by the Liberal-Democratic party with 8.14% and 40 seats, and the Kremlin loyalist A Just Russia party - 7.74% and 38 seats.

Voter turnout was 63.78%, said Stanislav Vavilov, the commission's deputy chairman.

Russia's top election official, Vladimir Churov, said the commission had worked round-the-clock in the past few days to sum up the results of the polls.

The official complained that he would not even be able to raise a glass of champagne to mark the announcement, saying that "I have numerous interviews with Russian television stations on my agenda now, after which I have to sign the telegrams to those candidates who made it into the new Duma."

Churov said that the individual make-up of the Duma would be made public by next Friday, with telegrams to be distributed to all of the 450 members of the new parliament soon.

He also said that a working group would now consider complaints from political parties, voters, observers and the media concerning the official results.

International monitors said Russia's elections had failed to meet basic democratic standards, saying that President Putin, who headed United Russia's candidate list and campaigned on its behalf, had effectively merged the state with his party in the run-up to the election. They also noted widespread media restrictions.

Russian officials retorted that the State Duma vote showed popular confidence in the policies pursued by the Kremlin and would help ensure further sustainable growth and stability.

The Communist Party plan to organize rallies across the country on December 22 to protest against the results of the parliamentary elections, which they say were rigged.

They said violations were reported virtually in all Russia's regions, and were especially numerous in the Siberian Kemerovo region, the southern republics of Daghestan and Kabardino-Balkaria, and Mordovia in the Volga area.

The Chechen Republic reported that 99% of voters had cast their ballots for the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, with a 99% turnout.

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