Ruling party candidates win all slots in Russian election

AP News
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Posted: Sep 14, 2015 6:27 AM
Ruling party candidates win all slots in Russian election

MOSCOW (AP) — Candidates from the ruling United Russia party have won the governor's seat in all 21 regions where an election was held, as well as in 11 regional legislatures, election officials said on Monday.

An independent election monitor said the results showed the government's strong grip on politics in Russia and the difficulties faced by opposition and independent candidates.

Early results released Monday showed only one of the 21 United Russia candidates got less than 50 percent of the vote.

Sunday's vote was largely perceived as a dress rehearsal ahead of the parliamentary election next year.

The RPR-Parnas opposition party, which was allowed for run for a regional parliament in only one region, the largely rural Kostroma, polled just under 2 percent of the vote. The turnout across Russia was largely under 50 percent.

Ilya Yashin, an RPR-Parnas leader in Kostroma, conceded defeat on Monday.

"We did an honest job fighting against the giant machine," he said on Facebook. "We've lost. Parnas' actual result, not counting ballot-stuffing and fraud ... is higher than the official one, but not significantly."

The independent election monitor Golos said in a report Monday that the vote demonstrated the lack of political competition in Russia and showed the government's control over the results, from independent candidates being barred from running to not giving the opposition any air time for campaigning.

"The results of the election were overwhelmingly predetermined by decisions and actions of the current government and election authorities ... as early as at the stage of nominating and registering candidates and parties," the report said.

Golos said it received more than 200 complaints on Sunday about violations at the vote which included voters casting ballots multiple times as well as the hampering of election monitors' work.