The FINANCIAL -- According to RIA Novosti, Russia's top election official said the official results of parliamentary elections of December 2 would be announced on December 7-8.
Vladimir Churov also said that after 98% of the vote had been counted, preliminary results showed that the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, whose candidate list was headed by President Putin, had received 64.1%, the Communists 11.6%, the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party 8.2%, and the loyalist A Just Russia 7.8%.
These are the only four parties to have overcome the 7% barrier to take seats in the fifth State Duma. Election turnout has been estimated at 63%.
Kimmo Kiljunen, vice president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said the voting had been fair and democratic.
He told the Ekho Moskvy radio station that some people in Moscow had cast their votes outside the voting booths, but that, in his personal opinion, no major violations had taken place. All the polling stations had been monitored, he added.
Kiljunen did say, however, that he was extremely surprised at reports that some 99% of the electorate had voted for United Russia in Chechnya, Russia's troubled North Caucasus republic. This, he added, was in his experience "impossible".