MOSCOW (Reuters) - Two exit polls showed that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's ruling party suffered a big decline in support in a parliamentary election on Sunday, winning less than half of votes cast. Following are reactions to the development:
BORIS GRYZLOV, HEAD OF THE RULING COUNCIL OF UNITED RUSSIA
"We are watching and hope that we shall get a majority of the mandates in the Duma."
"We received support from the electorate... We can say that United Russia remains the ruling party."
"I congratulate you all and thank the electorate again."
SERGEI OBUKHOV, COMMUNIST LAWMAKER
"Russia has a new political reality even if they rewrite everything."
VLADIMIR RYZHKOV, LIBERAL OPPOSITION LEADER
"I think the real percentage of votes United Russia received was from 35 to 45 percent.
"These elections are unprecedented because were carried out against the background of a collapse in trust in Putin, Medvedev and the ruling party. This is the most important political circumstance. 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."
ANDREI PIONTKOVSKY, POLITICAL ANALYST
"It's the beginning of the end.
"It shows a loss of prestige for the party and the country's leaders. They are more despised mow than respected.
"People are fed up."
SERGEI BELANOVSKY, POLITICAL ANALYST
"I think there is a trend of the authorities' legitimacy falling, primarily Putin's.
"Although the people are not inclined to aggressive and violent behavior, can the "new old" authorities run the country with a slump in ratings and not being ready to shoot? I do not know if it is possible to run a country where everyone hates you."
(Reporting By Guy Faulconbridge)