Russia's ruling party eyes victory in regional elections

08:22, March 15, 2010      

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The ruling United Russia party will probably win a convincing victory in the parliamentary elections in eight regions that opened on Sunday, said Speaker of Russia's lower house of the parliament.

Boris Gryzlov, also as Chairman of the United Russia Supreme Council, said the ruling party would possibly have the majority of seats in these regions, judging by exit polls and preliminary elections results.

"We will have two-thirds of seats in half of the regions, and over a half in the rest," said Gryzlov as quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency.

Meanwhile he noted that the other three parties that have seats in Russia's lower house of the parliament, including the Just Russia party, Liberal Democrats and Communists, may also won seats in the parliamentary elections.

"More than 90 percent of votes were given to parliamentary parties. This shows that Russia has formed a political system. Opposition is important for us (United Russia)," he said.

These parties have to reach the 7-percent threshold to be elected to regional legislatures, with the exception of the Republic of Altai where the threshold is 5 percent.

However, Sunday night results also showed that the United Russia party might lose the mayoral elections in the Siberian city of Irkutsk to the Communists, whose candidate Viktor Kondrashov is currently leading with 63.14 percent of votes. So far a fourth of the votes have already been counted.

Gryzlov said his party will study the techniques the Communists used in the Irkutsk mayoral elections.

Some 32 million Russians, or one third of the total voters, went to the polls in Sunday's regional and local elections that officially closed at 8 p.m. Moscow time (1700 GMT).

In total, about 6,200 elections of various levels were held.

No serious complaints have been filed during the elections, said Chairman of the Central Elections Commission Vladimir Churov.

The elections have been seen as a test to the popularity of the ruling United Russia party as the country suffered from heavy blows of the global economic downturn.

The pro-Kremlin United Russia party swept through last October' s elections by winning over half of the ballots in many regions.

Source: Xinhua
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