The results of the vote on Sunday in Russia's parliamentary elections were "optimal" and "really reflect the situation in the country," Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said as early election results showed his United Russia party had suffered siginificant losses at the polls.
Speaking to supporters alongside President Dmitry Medvedev at United Russia's campaign headquarters, Putin said the outcome of the elections "will allow for the steady development of Russia."
Medvedev said that United Russia would have to join a coalition with other political parties on certain issues in the lower house, the State Duma.
"We will have to take into account the more complex configuration of the Duma and for some issues we will have to join coalition bloc agreements," Medvedev said, adding: "This is normal, that is what parliamentarinism is, that is democracy, and our colleagues and leaders of the relevant fractions said that they were ready for that."
Medvedev said "a 50-percent result testifies to a real democracy."
Putin’s United Russia party failed on Sunday to win a majority in legislative elections, exit polls showed, confounding forecasts and confirming waning popular enthusiasm for the country’s dominant political organization.
United Russia won 46 percent of the vote for seats in the new State Duma, the lower house of parliament, according to the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM), a Kremlin-favored polling institution, according to exit poll results broadcast on the NTV national television network.
Results from another exit poll conducted by the Russia Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), also broadcast on Rossiya-24 just after 9:00 p.m. Moscow time (17:00 GMT) when the last polls closed in the westernmost Russian exclave of Kaliningrad showed United Russia picked up 48.5 percent of the vote.
Both polls put the Communist party in second place, with FOM putting their support at 21 percent and VTsIOM placing it at 19.8 percent. Both put the moderate A Just Russia party in third place, followed closely by the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party. The liberal Yabloko party scored around four percent falling short of the 7-percent barrier.
Official results will be announced at 10:00 a.m. on Monday Moscow time [06:00 GMT] after 99% of the ballots have been counted, the Central Elections Commission head, Vladimir Churov, said.