PUTIN'S PARTY SUFFERS SHARP DROP IN SUPPORT IN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's party suffered a sharp drop in support in the December 4 parliamentary election, winning nearly half of the vote but falling far short of the majority it has enjoyed for years, early results showed.
According to RIA Novosti, with the votes from about 94 percent of polling stations counted, the ruling United Russia party is now slightly below the 50-percent mark with 49.69 percent, a far cry from the commanding two-thirds constitutional majority the party has held in the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, for the past four years, according to the official count.
Throughout the night, United Russia's vote count hovered around the 50 percent mark.
That would be good enough to retain a narrow majority of Duma seats, including United Russia's pro rata share of votes cast for parties that did not pass the 7-percent threshold. But the result still marks a major electoral setback for the political party that Putin leads and that has been the dominant political organization in Russia for much of the past decade.
The Communist Party (KPRF) so far has 19.15 percent, the moderate A Just Russia got 13.17 percent and the nationalist Liberal Democrats (LDPR), 11.66 percent, according to preliminary results. Voter turnout was about 60 percent.
The three other parties failed to clear either the 7-percent election threshold required for full-fledged representation in the Duma or the 5-percent threshold that would give them a token representation. The closest candidate, the liberal Yabloko party, garnered just 3.22 percent. Patriots of Russia and Right Cause are even further behind, with 0.96 and 0.59 percent respectively.
Putin, 59, who last month accepted United Russia's nomination as the party's candidate in presidential elections scheduled for next March, appeared at party campaign headquarters after early results were announced and described the vote as an "optimal" outcome.
- 1837 Birth of Stepanos Palasanyan (armenologist) in Bodushan, Moldavia. He died in 1889 in Etshmiadsin.
- 1837 Death of Hakob Shahen-Jrpetyan (armenologist) in Tbilissi. He was born in 1772 in Urfa.
- 1920 The first Armenian issue of the "Communist" daily published in Yerevan. It was the official paper of the Central Committee of the Armenian Communist Party. After 1921, it was called "Soviet Armenia".
- 1920 The first order of the Revolutionary Committee of the Armenian SSR creates the People's Commissariat of Military Affairs of the Armenian SSR.
- 1936 The 7th Extraordinary Congress of the Soviet of the USSR confirms the new constitution. The Armenian SSR becomes a Union Republic.
- 1936 The Kanaker Power Plant is put on line.