Backgrounder: Major parties competing in Russia's State Duma elections
Backgrounder: Basic facts about Russia's State Duma elections
|Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (L) and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meet members of the United Russia party and its supporters at the party's headquarters in Moscow, Russia, Dec. 4, 2011, after the conclusion of the country's sixth parliamentary elections. (Xinhua/RIA Novosti)
MOSCOW, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Russia's Central Election Commission (CEC) on Monday announced the preliminary results of Sunday's State Duma election, with the ruling United Russia taking the lead but losing its constitutional majority in the lower house of parliament.
With 95.71 percent of the votes counted, United Russia won 49.54 percent and would have 238 of the 450 seats in the State Duma, holding an absolute majority in the new Duma.
In the previous election in 2007, United Russia won 64.3 percent of the votes, gaining 315 seats and holding a two-thirds majority in the State Duma, which allowed it to pass changes to the constitution.
After the CEC announcement, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is also the party's leader, said the victory of the ruling party was important for both the government and the entire country.
"United Russia is a party that the government has relied on in the past years. It will not be an exaggeration to say that United Russia has been a major cornerstone of our strategic stability," Putin said.
Along with United Russia, three other parties also entered the State Duma, including the Communist Party with 19.16 percent of the votes, A Just Russia with 13.22 percent and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) with 11.66 percent.
CEC Chairman Vladimir Churov said the Communist Party would have 92 seats, A Just Russia 64 and the LDPR 56.
Another three parties contesting in the election, namely the Yabloko, the Patriots of Russia and the Right Cause, secured less than 4 percent of the votes each and did not reach the 7-percent threshold to enter the State Duma.
Under Russia's electoral law, the State Duma's 450 seats are distributed on a proportional basis to all parties that receive at least 7 percent of the votes.
Although United Russia's seats in the new Duma dropped sharply from the previous 315, it still keeps an absolute majority in the house, which could allow the party to implement its major policies, officials and analysts said.
United Russia's General Council Presidium Secretary Sergei Neverov said it was a victory that the ruling party won an absolute majority in the State Duma, which would help the party better support the president and the prime minister.
He added that the party did not rule out the possibility of cooperating with other parties on some issues.
"Coalitions and blocs are a civilized and inseparable part of the parliament's activity. We think that the opposition is not our enemy. If its position coincides with ours, why don't we vote for some decision together after we hold consultations?" he said.
Late on Sunday, President Dmitry Medvedev, who led the party's list in the elections, also confirmed that United Russia would have to forge a coalition with other political parties on certain issues in the new Duma.
However, Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov called the State Duma election "illegitimate" and complained about irregularities. He warned that the Communist Party's 92 seats would allow the party to move for a no-confidence vote against the government.
Sergei Mironov, leader of A Just Russia, said that his party was ready to form a coalition with the Communist Party and the LDPR. But he also said that he did not rule out the possibility of forging a coalition with United Russia "on certain issues."
Grigory Yavlinsky, leader of Yabloko, which only gained some 3.3 percent of the ballots, said Monday that he would contest the results.
Yuri Tavrovsky, a professor at the Moscow Friendship University, told Xinhua that all opposition forces understand the power of Putin and United Russia.
"They participated in the Duma and presidential elections only for self-promotion and the increase of their influence," Tavrovsky said.
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