New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)

Early results show pro-Kremlin party leads

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Early results Sunday in Russia’s parliament­ary election showed the dominant pro-Kremlin party well in the lead, but it was unclear if the party will retain the two-thirds majority of seats that allow it to change the constituti­on.

The election is widely seen as an important part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to cement his grip on power ahead of the 2024 presidenti­al election, in which control of the State Duma, or parliament, will be key.

Results from about 20 percent of the country’s polling stations gave the proKremlin United Russia party 42 percent of the vote for the 225 deputies apportione­d by party lists, according to the elections commission. Another 225 lawmakers will be chosen by individual races, and the elections commission said early results showed United Russia candidates leading in 179 of those single-constituen­cy seats.

The election Sunday lacked significan­t opposition presence after Russian authoritie­s declared organizati­ons linked to imprisoned Alexei Navalny, the Kremlin’s most prominent foe, to be extremist. The voting was also marred by numerous reports of violations, including ballot-stuffing.

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