CNN reported: ” While Russian police arrested 170 opposition protesters in two cities, voters in the country’s parliamentary election appeared to eat away at Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s support in Sunday’s elections, slimming down his party’s parliamentary majority”.
Around 100 opposition protesters were arrested in Moscow according to official news agency RIA Novosti, which sourced police. Authorities detained 70 more in St. Petersburg. Police had warned protesters earlier in the day not to hold “unsanctioned rallies” in Moscow, the Interfax news agency reported. In campaigning ahead of the vote, opponents accused the ruling party of corruption and nepotism, RIA Novosti reported.
With more than 50% of the vote counted, the Central Election Commission said United Russia had about 49.6% of the vote, down from 64% in 2007, according to the All-Russia Center for Public Opinion.
” The Communist Party (KPRF) so far has 19.15 percent, the moderate A Just Russia got 13.17 percent and the nationalist Liberal Democrats (LDPR), 11.66 %, according to preliminary results. Voter turnout was about 60%.”-official news agency RIA Novosti said. – “The three other parties failed to clear the 7-percent election threshold. Parties gaining 5 percent would get one seat and those that have six to seven percent are entitled for two seats in the State Duma. But the closest candidate, the Yabloko party, gained 3.22 percent, less than required to get at least one seat, so it will have no representation in the lower house of parliament. Yabloko won the vote at polling places in the U.K., France and the United States, although that is unlikely to improve their overall result.”
Patriots of Russia and Right Cause are even further behind, with 0.96 and 0.59 percent respectively.
Analysts had anticipated Putin’s party would win less support than four years ago — but would maintain a majority.
Opposition websites, radio stations and an election monitoring group claimed they had come under online attack.
Russia’s Interior Ministry opened three criminal cases and reported hundreds of other “electoral breaches,” RIA Novosti said, citing the ministry’s press office.
Maria Lipman, an analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center, told CNN Sunday that elections had become “increasingly farcical during Putin’s leadership.”
“The last time we had an election at the federal level without a pre-ordained result was ’99,” she said. “Since then all elections have pre-ordained results and were to maintain the political monopoly of the ruling elite.”
Putin is still likely to win a presidential election in March, Sunday’s result could dent the authority of the man who has ruled for almost 12 years.
“These elections are unprecedented because they were carried out against the background of a collapse in trust in Putin, (President Dmitry) Medvedev and the ruling party,” said Vladimir Ryzhkov, a liberal opposition leader barred from running.
“I think that the March (presidential) election will turn into an even bigger political crisis; disappointment, frustration, with even more dirt and disenchantment, and an even bigger protest vote.”