Pacific region punishes Putin's party in polls

4th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Vladimir Putin's ruling party received Sunday a startlingly low 34.5 percent of votes in the Primorye region on the Pacific, one of the worst results of any Russian region and reflecting discontent over the Kremlin's policies.

Based on 38 percent of the precincts reporting, United Russia received 34.5 percent of the vote in the elections to the lower house of parliament, followed by Communists with 23 percent, the election commission said.

Turnout in the region stood at 48 percent, according to the local election commission.

The result is far worse than the figure of just under 50 percent that United Russia has polled nationwide, according to preliminary results.

Confidence in United Russia party has been reaching new lows in the region based around the Pacific port and Trans-Siberian railway terminus of Vladivostok, whose residents have long been resentful of the concentration of powers in the Kremlin.

In the run-up to the polls, many residents had said they would have no qualms about punishing the ruling party and many former United Russia supporters said they would give their vote to other parties this time.

Even though the preliminary polling results from the Primorye region were posted on the website of the local election commission, the Moscow-based election watchdog refused to announce them to reporters Sunday night.

The poor results for the ruling party in the region located an eight-hour flight away from Moscow come despite massive investments in construction ahead of its hosting of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit next year.

Sunday's elections are seen as a key test of Putin's ability to hold on to power as he prepares to reclaim his old Kremlin job in a March presidential vote amid emerging signs of discontent over his 11-year rule.

© 2011 AFP

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