Putin United Russia party suffers poll setback
Putin`s party managed to cross 50 per cent mark in Sunday`s parliamentary polls, although it has lost the two-thirds majority enjoyed in the outgoing State Duma. After counting of 88 per cent votes, United Russia had bagged 50.2 per cent votes, down from 64 per cent in 2007.
The Communist Party (KPRF) was in second place with 19.12 per cent of the vote. A Just Russia was in third place with 13.02 per cent and the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) had 11.66 per cent, the election commission said.
The vote is being seen as a popularity test of Mr Putin, who is running for the presidency in March.
Opposition parties have complained of violations of election laws.
Russia`s only independent monitoring group, Golos, says it has logged 5,300 complaints alleging violations of election laws.
Sunday night President Dmitry Medvedev, who had led the United Russia to the polls, called up the opposition leaders Gennady Zyuganov and Sergei Mironov to congratulate them on the success of their Communist and a Just Russia parties and expressed readiness to work with them in the new Duma elected for the five year term.
The three other parties failed to clear the 7 per cent election threshold, the Yabloko party bagged 3.04 per cent followed by Patriots of Russia and Right Cause with 0.96 and 0.58 per cent respectively.
After early returns last night Medvedev said they reflect the prevailing moods in the country and expressed readiness for coalition with other parties in the new house with other parties.
Both Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir arrived at the campaign headquarter of United Russia party shortly after the announcement of early returns.
Putin, who has been nominated as the presidential candidate of the United Russia party for the March 2012 polls said the results of the Sunday`s polls were "optimal" and "really reflect the situation in the country."