Ruling party sweeps Russian regional elections

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Prime Minister Vladmir Putin's United Russia party swept regional elections at the weekend, reestablishing its hold over six provinces and several large cities, results showed on Monday.

Support for United Russia reached 57.76 percent, an increase of seven percent on the last local elections that were held in the spring, the electoral commission said.

The party's secretary Vyacheslav Volodin said the results showed support for the government had remained strong despite criticism over its handling of a summer heatwave which was accompanied by widespread wildfires.

The ruling party performed worst in Siberian Novosibirsk region, getting only 44.54 percent, while the Communists received 25.58 percent of the votes, the commission said.

Communist party leader Gennady Zyuganov has denounced the results as bogus and is planning to complain to the European Court of Human Rights.

But Vladimir Churov, head of the electoral commission, denied allegations of rigging as figures showed turnout averaged 49.14 percent, about 10 percent higher than in the previous elections.

© 2010 AFP

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