Russian exit polls indicated Vladimir Putin’s party suffered a big loss in a parliamentary election on Sunday, Reuters reported.
Television and state-backed polls showed that the prime minister’s party would win only by 48.5 percent of the vote, a drastic decrease from 64 percent votes received in 2007, the BBC reported. Polls suggested Putin’s United Russia could struggle to hold on to a majority in the chamber.
"Russia has a new political reality even if they rewrite everything," said Sergei Obukhov, a parliamentary deputy of the Communist Party, which made considerable gains, its vote almost doubling to around 20 percent, according to the exit poll, Reuters reported.
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United Russia’s loss of its two-thirds majority is its first since it was set up 10 years ago and was allowed to change the Constitution. Many predict Putin will be forced to make unpopular cuts in social spending and raise the pension age to balance the budget, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported.
Putin plans to keep his seat in next year’s presidential elections but is losing popularity due to stalling wage growth and the government’s shortcomings in curbing corruption repel voters, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported.
This is a personal defeat for Putin,” said Dmitry Oreshkin, an independent political analyst based in Moscow, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported. “He understands that his popularity is falling and it’s falling increasingly fast.”
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Currently United Russia holds 315 seats out of the 450-member lower house of parliament. Exit polls suggested the Communist Party will finish behind United Russia with 20 percent of the vote, the BBC reported.
"We are watching and hope that we shall get a majority of the mandate in the State Duma,” said a United Russia leader, Boris Gryzlov, Reuters reported. "We can say that United Russia remains the ruling party."
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