Putin party wins, loses majority in Russia polls
The ruling party of Vladimir Putin yesterday won Russia's parliamentary elections but with a sharply reduced majority, in a blow for the Russian strongman ahead of his planned return to the Kremlin in 2012.
The results mean his United Russia party has lost the constitutional majority of two-thirds in the State Duma required to pass any changes to the constitution, amid signs that Putin's once invincible popularity is on the wane.
The opposition said Sunday's vote was shadowed by mass violations as the authorities sought to maintain United Russia's dominance with dirty tricks including cyber attacks on critical websites and harrassment of monitors.
"Based on these results, we will be able to ensure the stable development of our country," Putin said at his party's campaign headquarters.