14:53 GMT +316 February 2019
Listen Live
    Russia

    Putin votes, wishes his party good result

    Russia
    Get short URL
    0 22

    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin voted on Sunday in a parliamentary election widely seen as a popularity test for him and his ruling United Russia party.

    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin voted on Sunday in a parliamentary election widely seen as a popularity test for him and his ruling United Russia party.

    Putin arrived at polling station No. 2079 at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow on Sunday afternoon, saying he was in a good mood on the voting day.

    By the time of Putin's arrival, over 250 out of 1,450 eligible voters had cast their votes at the polling station, Vladimir Zorin, chairman of the district electoral commission, said.

    Putin greeted the staff of the district electoral commission, received a ballot paper and went into the polling booth. Several minutes later, he came up to the electronic ballot box where the chairman of the district electoral commission briefed the premier on how to cast the ballot.

    When asked about what he expected from the election, Putin said he wanted the United Russia party to achieve a good result at the Duma elections. As for the voter turnout, he said he expected more voters to come to the polls than during the parliamentary elections in 2007.

    As of 12:00 p.m. Moscow time (09:00 a.m. GMT) on Sunday, turnout was 12.62% in Moscow and 11.2% across Russia, the Central Election Commission said.

    "Turnout at the current elections to the State Duma is higher by more than 4% than at the legislative elections in 2007," Central Election Commission member Valery Kryukov said.

    The polling station where Putin voted is the place where former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, former finance minister Alexei Kudrin, head of Rusnano hi-tech corporation Anatoly Chubais and Chairman of the Russian Supreme Court Vyacheslav Lebedev usually cast their votes.

    Russian voters went to the polls on Sunday in national legislative elections watched closely as a crucial test of the staying power of Putin and his United Russia party, the dominant political organization in the country in recent years.

    Seven political parties are competing for representation in the Duma election but public opinion polls suggest that only four of them, United Russia, A Just Russia, the Communists and the Liberal Democratic Party, are expected to win enough support to get seats in the State Duma.

    The 59-year-old Putin, who served two terms as president between 2000 and 2008, was nominated last month by United Russia as its candidate for presidential elections next March which he is widely regarded as almost certain to win regardless of the party's performance in Sunday's Duma vote.

    Last month, he repeatedly called for United Russia to retain a majority in the Duma to facilitate smooth passage of government initiatives through parliament in view of current global economic turmoil