4 December 2011, 21:54

United Russia leads at 2011 parliamentary elections

United Russia leads at 2011 parliamentary elections

The parliamentary elections in Russia have been completed. At 9 p.m. Moscow time, last polling stations closed in Kaliningrad, the country’s most western region. All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center has announced the data of exit polls, polls of voters taken immediately after they have exited the polling stations.

The parliamentary elections in Russia have been completed. At 9 p.m. Moscow time, last polling stations closed in Kaliningrad, the country’s most western region.

All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center has announced the data of exit polls, polls of voters taken immediately after they have exited the polling stations.

As it was expected the United Russia scores a confident victory, with 48.5% of votes.

All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center conducted exit polls at 1,746 polling stations in 62 regions. More than 250,000 people have been asked during the exit polls what party they voted for. With the refusal of 23.75% of respondents to answer it the statistical error does not exceed 2%.

According to the exit poll conducted by All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center:

The United Russia party leads with 48.5% of votes. The Communist Party runs second with 19.8% while A Just Russia comes third with 12.8%.  The Liberal-Democratic Party has managed to overcome 7% barrier by gathering around 11.5% of votes.  For the moment other parties fail to enter the State Duma. Little more than 4% of voters gave their votes to Yabloko party, while the Right Cause and the Patriots of Russia have received about 1% each. The percentage of spoiled ballots is 1.3%.

The electoral marathon in Russia lasted for 21 hours. At midnight Moscow time, residents of Russia’s Far East regions - Kamchatka, Magadan, Chukotka, in Sakhalin and Yakutia began to vote. Theses regions have an 8-hour time difference with Moscow.  People of the Kaliningrad region the country’s most western region were the last to cast their votes. Nine time zones, more than 96,000 polling stations across the country and more than 370 polling stations abroad and almost 110 million voters.

More than 500,000 Russian and foreign observers monitored the elections. In an interview with the Voice of Russia an independent international observer from Serbia Dushan Boyatovic shared his impressions of visiting voting stations in several regions:

"This morning we were in Cherkessk in the North Caucasus and in some other places where we watched the beginning of the elections. The polling stations that we visited opened in time. Everything was organized according to democratic procedures and the polling stations were safe, which is important in the Caucasus. There were no violations of the rules there."

Latvian MP Igor Melnikov from The Centre of Accord party has not seen any violations of the rules either. He is watching the elections in the North-Western part of Russia:

"We have visited five polling stations so far. Two of them are in the Pskov Region and three in the Novgorod Region. Four stations out of five have no facilities for disabled people. This was the only drawback. The voters’ turnout is quite good."

Foreign observers represent dozens of countries and international organizations, such as the OSCE, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Association of Central and Eastern European Elections Officials and other organizations. They have authorities similar to those of national observers. There is only one restriction: they are allowed to express their opinions only after the voting in the whole country is over. At present no serious violations have been noticed, says Irish ex-MP and observer Tom Kitt:

"I have seen no violations of the election law during my time as an international observer. The staff were very helpful today in every situation. And this computerised system is working perfectly."

A party has to pass a 7% threshold to be able to form its faction in parliament. But parties winning less than 7% are still promised to get their seats in the new State Duma. A party with a 5% vote will get one mandate, while those with a 6% vote will be granted two seats in parliament.

In five years the barrier will be lowered to 5%. This is the last time when parliamentary and presidential election campaigns almost overlap making together a six-month election marathon.  The two campaigns will not follow one another once the deputies of the lower chamber of parliament are elected for a 5-year term and the president for a 6-year term.

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