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21:14 GMT +3 hours19 December 2014
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United Russia wins over 99% of vote in Chechnya - preliminary data

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With more than half of the vote counted in Russia's Chechen Republic, the ruling United Russia party leads the polls with over 99%, the head of the republic's election commission said on Monday.
GROZNY, December 3 (RIA Novosti) - With more than half of the vote counted in Russia's Chechen Republic, the ruling United Russia party leads the polls with over 99%, the head of the republic's election commission said on Monday.

Russia held elections to the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, on Sunday. According to preliminary national data, with 85% of the vote in, the United Russia party, whose candidate list was headed by President Putin, has received 63.3% of the vote nationwide.

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov had previously told foreign journalists that he saw no need for any official opposition parties in the southern Russian republic. The Chechen leader had also urged Chechens to vote for United Russia at a rally in the republic on November 27.

"We have to prove on December 2 that we fully support Putin and his party by voting 100 percent for him," he said.

Turnout in Chechnya was the by far the highest in Russia, with 99.2% of registered voters participating in the election.

Chechnya, a mountainous Russian republic in the Russian North Caucasus, saw two separatist wars in the 1990s-early 2000s. Thousands of people were killed and the republic's capital, Grozny, was almost completely destroyed.

Although the active phase of the war is over, sporadic clashes with militants and terrorist attacks are common in the troubled republic, as well as in adjacent republics such as Ingushetia and Daghestan.

Since becoming president of Chechnya in February 2007, Ramzan Kadyrov has overseen a period of relative calm in the republic, despite continuing allegations by human rights groups of torture and intimidation by local security forces.