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'Russian election a victory for Putin'

world Updated: Dec 03, 2007 09:29 IST

The head of the ruling United Russia party Boris Gryzlov has said that Russia's parliamentary election had been a triumph for President Vladimir Putin.

"These elections were a referendum of support for the course of Vladimir Putin and we can say that Vladimir Putin was victorious," Gryzlov said on Sunday.

"United Russia obtained the citizens' support. I want to thank our citizens," Gryzlov told a news conference.

With nearly 20 per cent of results counted from Sunday's parliamentary polls United Russia had scored over 63 per cent.

Exit polls gave United Russia over 60 per cent of the vote.
The result follows a massive campaign by United Russia that dwarfed those of all its rivals.

Putin has said that a strong result for United Russia would give him a "moral" mandate to retain power after he stands downs following a presidential poll next March. The constitution bars him from standing for a third term.

Opposition parties said that United Russia had abused its links to federal and regional authorities during the campaign.

Putin stood as United Russia's top candidate at the polls, despite a bar on the president entering parliament as a deputy.

Having previously stood above party politics, he called on voters to back United Russia in a broadcast three days before the election.