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Russia starts parliamentary elections

(Xinhua)

10:47, December 04, 2011

MOSCOW - Russia's sixth parliamentary elections first kicked off in the Far Eastern regions of Kamchatka and Chukotka on Sunday. A total of seven political parties are competing for 450 seats in the State Duma, or the lower house of the parliament.

Russians in Kamchatka and Chukotka went to the polls from 08:00 local time on Sunday (2000 GMT, Saturday) to cast their ballots, while voters in other parts of the Russian territory still have to wait for several hours to vote.

Local media said that some 55 percent of the 110 million eligible voters are expected to cast their ballots in some 96,000 domestic polling stations and some 370 overseas stations in more than 140 other countries.

Voters in Kaliningrad, an exclave of Russia located between Poland and Lithuania, will be the last on the Russian territory to cast their ballots at 21:00 Moscow time (1700 GMT) on Sunday.

The first overseas polling stations are scheduled to open in New Zealand at 23:00 Moscow time on Saturday (1900 GMT). The last ones will open in San Francisco of the United States.

The seven political parties competing in the elections are the ruling United Russia party, the main opposition the Communist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, A Just Russia, the Yabloko (Apple), the Patriots of Russia and the Right Cause.

Some 3,000 candidates have been registered on the federal lists.

According to new electoral laws amended in late 2008, the newly elected Duma will serve a five-year term instead of a four-year term after the December election.

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