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Pro-Putin party wins Russian parliamentary election

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Vladimir Putin

Early results showed that the ruling United Russian party won 51 percent in Sunday’s election.LDPR came second with 15.3 per cent while Russia’s Communist Party and Fair Russia obtained 14.9 and 8.1 per cent respectively, the poll showed.

The win by Putin’s party  would allow the party to extend its dominance in the lower house of Parliament

A further 10 parties that took part in the elections did not receive enough votes to make it into parliament, although some of their candidate could still enter parliament as a result of constituency races.

According to another exit poll by Public Opinion Foundation, United Russia, led by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, obtained 48.7 per cent of the votes, followed by Russia’s Communist Party, which gained 16.3 per cent.

The nationalist party LDPR also garnered 14.2 per cent. Fair Russia came fourth and is the last party to enter the parliament post-election, as it obtained 7.6 percent of the vote while other parties did not clear the 5 percent threshold, the poll showed.

With 10 percent of votes counted, early results suggest that the ruling United Russia party heads the polls with 45.95 per cent, followed by right-wing party LDPR with 17.4 per cent and the Russian Communist Party with 16.76 per cent. Fair Russia comes fourth with 6.36 per cent, the Russian Central Elections Committee said.

This time, half of the parliament’s seats will be occupied by deputies included in the federal candidate lists of parties that will clear the 5 percent threshold. The other half will be taken up by candidates elected according to a first-past-the-post system in each of the 225 independent constituencies or districts that together form the Russian Federation.

Fourteen political parties took part in State Duma elections.

In Russia, each person over the age of 18 is eligible to vote, except for prisoners and legally incapable persons. The total number of Russian voters amounts to 111.6 million with about two million of them living abroad. Voter turnout in Russia’s previous parliamentary elections in 2011 amounted to 60.2 percent.

Putin says Results shows people trust our leadership

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev arrived at the United Russia party campaign office, where the PM, who is also the chairman of Russia’s ruling party, delivered a speech to party members and thanked Putin.

Medvedev also called the election results “a victory” for the party.

Russian people support political stability, Vladimir Putin said as he visited the United Russia campaign office. “The situation is not easy and people see it – and they want the political system and society to remain stable,” the president said.

“Ordinary people know that empty promises are worth nothing,” he added, commenting on preliminary election results and stressing that United Russia will continue its work aimed at Russia’s development.

Low Voter turnout 

The total voter turnout stood at 39.37 percent two hours before the polling stations closed, Russia’s Central Elections Committee said in a press release. At the same time, Moscow and St. Petersburg were among the Russian regions with the lowest turnout, which amounted to almost 20 percent in the Russian capital and 16.12 percent in St. Petersburg.

Sunday’s voter turnout is “not the highest” in comparison to that of previous elections, but it is still “high”, Vladimir Putin said, commenting at the end of the voting.

On Sunday, Russians elected the officials to the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, as well as to dozens of municipal and regional bodies on the first nationwide Single Election Day – previously voting was held in December.

It is also the first time that the mixed principle has been used in elections to the State Duma since 2003, as in 2007 and 2011 Russians elected MPs from federal party lists only.

One international observer at the Russian State Duma elections, Javier Hurtado Mira, the president of centre-right political organization, the Democrat Youth Community of Europe, told RT Spanish that the atmosphere at his polling station was “calm.”

“People are casting their votes just like in other European countries,” he said adding that the voting process is “absolutely transparent” and “Russian democracy has evolved.”

America

US intelligence chiefs say Russia still meddling, threatening 2018 elections

In strong language, Coats said Russia President Vladimir Putin has been emboldened by Russia’s successful interference in the 2016 elections and is targeting the 2018 election cycle.

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Dan Coats

WASHINGTON — Russia and other adversaries will continue to engage in cyber warfare to “degrade our democratic values and weaken our alliances,” the nation’s top intelligence official said Tuesday.

“Frankly, the United States is under attack,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the Senate Intelligence Committee, adding that every facet of society is being targeted with cyber intrusions.

In strong language, Coats said Russia President Vladimir Putin has been emboldened by Russia’s successful interference in the 2016 elections and is targeting the 2018 election cycle.

“There should be no doubt that (Putin) views the past effort as successful,” Coats said.

The national intelligence director’s comments come against the backdrop of continuing congressional and criminal investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and whether the Kremlin coordinated their activities with President Trump’s campaign.

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Middle East

Putin vows to continue supporting Syria’s sovereignty in New Year’s telegram to Assad

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Putin-and-Assad

Russia will continue its assistance in “upholding its state sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, and promoting a political settlement and economic recovery,” President Vladimir Putin told Syrian President Bashar Assad in a New Year’s message.

The Russian leader expressed hope that “the situation in Syria would continue changing for the better,” emphasizing that “defeating terrorists and rapidly bringing the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic back to normal” would benefit the “interests of the whole world and would improve security in the Middle East.”

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Russia

Lavrov, Tillerson discuss need for urgent North Korea negotiations: Moscow

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Lavrov Tillerson

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday discussed North Korea’s nuclear programme with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, stressing the need to start a negotiations process.

“The sides were united in the opinion that nuclear missile projects in North Korea violate the demands of the UN Security Council,” the Russian foreign ministry said after the two men spoke by telephone.

Lavrov “once again highlighted that it is unacceptable to exacerbate tensions around the Korean peninsula with Washington’s aggressive rhetoric toward Pyongyang and increasing military preparations in the region,” it said.

“It was underlined that it is necessary to move from the language of sanctions to the negotiating process as soon as possible,” the statement said, adding that it was Tillerson who initiated the call.

The UN Security Council on Friday slapped new sanctions on North Korea that will restrict oil supplies vital for its missile and nuclear programmes, the latest response to Pyongyang’s ICBM test last month.

US President Donald Trump has threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if it attacks the United States, while North Korea insists the world must now accept that it is a nuclear power.

Pyongyang has slammed the UN sanctions as an “act of war”.

Moscow has called for talks between North Korea and the United States, warning of a “risk of uncontrolled escalation”. Russia has also criticised Washington’s military drills with South Korea saying it provokes Pyongyang.

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