Putin party wins huge ma­jor­ity in par­lia­ment

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

MOSCOW (AP): PRES­I­DENT VLADIMIR Putin sees the gov­ern­ing party’s huge gain in par­lia­men­tary elec­tions as a vote of con­fi­dence in his govern­ment, de­spite a low voter turnout which sug­gests broad pub­lic ap­a­thy and dis­may with the po­lit­i­cal process.

United Rus­sia, the main party sup­port­ing Putin, ex­panded its grip on par­lia­ment, win­ning three-quar­ters of the seats, the Cen­tral Elec­tions Com­mis­sion (CEC) said yes­ter­day.

“The re­sults of the vote re­flect our cit­i­zens’ re­ac­tion to at­tempts of for­eign pres­sure on Rus­sia, to sanc­tions, to at­tempts to desta­bilise the sit­u­a­tion in our coun­try from within,” Putin said.

He pledged to con­tinue a for­eign pol­icy “de­void of any signs of ag­gres­sive­ness, but with un­con­di­tional ob­ser­vance of our na­tional in­ter­ests and se­cur­ing the na­tion’s de­fence ca­pa­bil­ity.”

Rus­sia-Western ties have re­mained badly strained over the Ukrainian cri­sis, with the United States and the Euro­pean Union slap­ping Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin (right), holds his pass­port at a polling sta­tion dur­ing a par­lia­men­tary elec­tion in Moscow, Rus­sia, on Sun­day.

Moscow with sanc­tions over its an­nex­a­tion of Ukraine’s Crimean Penin­sula and sup­port for the pro-Rus­sian in­sur­gency in east­ern Ukraine.

With 93 per cent of the bal­lots from Sun­day’s vote counted, the United Rus­sia party was on track to get 343 of the 450 seats in the State Duma, the lower house of par­lia­ment, CEC head Ella Pam­filova said. She said she ex­pected no sig­nif­i­cant change in the re­sults when the fi­nal count is to be an­nounced Fri­day.

Turnout, how­ever, was dis­tinctly lower than in the last Duma elec­tion in 2011 – less than 48 per cent na­tion­wide com­pared with 60 per cent. In Moscow, just 35 per cent of those el­i­gi­ble cast bal­lots.

The im­mense gain of more than 100 seats for United Rus­sia, which held a ma­jor­ity in the pre­vi­ous par­lia­ment, raises it above the two-thirds ma­jor­ity re­quired to amend the con­sti­tu­tion on its own.

United Rus­sia’s gains came at the ex­pense of three other par­ties that had largely com­plied with the Krem­lin’s wishes. The Com­mu­nists will have 42 seats in the new Duma, a sharp drop from 92, the na­tion­al­ist Lib­eral Democrats, 39, and A Just Rus­sia, 23.

LOW TURNOUT

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