Pro-Putin ruling party wins Russian parliamentary election

Pro-Putin ruling party wins Russian parliamentary electionThe ruling United Russia party won 51 percent in Sunday's election, according to a preliminary central election commission tally after a quarter of the votes had been counted, Reuters reports.

That would allow the party, which was founded by Putin and benefits from his popularity, to extend its dominance in the lower house of parliament, or Duma. An exit poll also had United Russia as the overwhelming winner.

Putin, speaking to United Russia campaign staff a few minutes after polling stations closed on Sunday night, said the win showed voters still trusted the leadership despite an economic slowdown made worse by Western sanctions over Ukraine.

Other parties trailed far behind United Russia.According to the incomplete official vote count, the populist LDPR party was in second place with 15.1 percent, the Communists were in third on 14.9 percent and the left-of-centre Just Russia party was fourth with 6.4 percent.

All three of those parties tend to vote with United Russia on crunch issues in parliament, and avoid direct criticism of Putin.

In the last election for the Duma, in 2011, United Russia won 49 percent of the vote.
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