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Rediff.com  » News » Rigging charges mar Putin's landslide victory

Rigging charges mar Putin's landslide victory

Last updated on: December 03, 2007 17:57 IST

President Vladimir Putin on Monday secured his position as the kingmaker in Russian politics with his party's landslide victory in the Parliamentary elections that have been marred by allegations of rigging from opposition and western observers.

The United Russia Party, which virtually turned the election into a referendum on Putin's eight-year reign as President before he steps down in May, bagged 64.1 per cent votes with most of the ballots counted and will roughly have 313 seats in the 450-strong State Duma.

"The vote affirmed the main idea that Vladimir Putin is the national leader and that the people support his course," party leader and parliament speaker Boris Gryzlov said.

The Communist party (KPRF) which won 11.6 percent of votes, losing almost half of the seats in the new house, said that it will challenge the results in court and kept open the option of boycotting the new Parliament.

KPRF leader Gennady Zyuganov, who claimed "numerous irregularities and fraud", said, "We will hold our own parallel count and seek the Supreme Court's verdict."

Western observers led by Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) also declared that the elections were "not fair", but the charges were rejected by the Russian Election Commission saying those who were attacking the vote were fulfilling "a political order".

"Elections in Russia could not conform to numerous European elections criteria, that is why they were not fair," Jorann Lennmarker, who was leading OSCE parliamentary team of 350 poll observers, said.