Russian polls close on national election day, early results indicate United Russia lead

With almost all of the votes counted, early results in Russia’s election suggest that the ruling United Russia party heads the list with 54.2 percent. The country voted on State Duma members, as well as several regional heads.

With 95 percent of the votes counted, early results suggest that the ruling United Russia party leads in the polls, followed by the Russian Communist Party with 13.5 percent, and the right-wing party LDPR with 13.3 percent. Fair Russia comes fourth with 6.2 percent, the Russian Central Elections Committee said.

WATCH LIVE: RT’s special coverage of Russia’s elections - early results

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.

Meanwhile, according to exit polls conducted by state pollster VСIOM, Russia's Communist Party came second with 13.45 percent, while LDPR and Fair Russia obtained 13.24 and 6.17 percent respectively, the poll showed.

Other parties did not clear the 5 percent threshold.

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, who is the party founder, for demonstrating support for United Russia by visiting the campaign office.

Foreground, from right: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Prime Minister and chairman of the United Russia political party Dmitry Medvedev at the party's election campaign headquarters, September 18, 2016. © Alexei Druzhinin

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, as quoted by TASS.

“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.

The total voter turnout stood at 47.81 percent nationwide, while in Moscow, it was 35.18 percent, according to the Central and Moscow City Election Commissions.

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.”

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.