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    No serious violations at State Duma elections - observers

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    International observers monitoring the elections to the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, said on Sunday they registered no serious violations during the voting.

    MOSCOW, December 2 (RIA Novosti) - International observers monitoring the elections to the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, said on Sunday they registered no serious violations during the voting.

    Russia is holding parliamentary elections on December 2, the fifth in its post-Soviet history, which are expected to cement the pro-Kremlin party's position for the next four years. The only other parties expected to overcome the 7% threshold required to enter parliament are the Communist Party, the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party, and A Just Russia, led by Kremlin loyalists.

    Kimmo Kiljunen, an observer from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), said he had already inspected two polling stations in south-west Moscow and registered no serious violations.

    "I see law and order and I see people going to vote," Kiljunen said.

    Vladimir Churov, the head of the Russian Central Electoral Commission, said earlier that a total of about 350 international observers would be monitoring the elections.

    Bakytzhan Zhumagulov, coordinator of the group of observers from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), also said that he had registered no violations at the parliamentary elections in Russia.

    "On the whole, parliamentary elections are proceeding in a calm atmosphere. In the regions where the elections came to an end, they were held at a high level," Zhumagulov said.

    On the eve of the elections, official opinion polls suggested United Russia with President Vladimir Putin as its No. 1 candidate will gain a clear majority in the State Duma, the lower house of parliament. The Public Opinion Fund said 63% of the electorate planned to back the "party of power".

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