Voting concluded late Sunday in Russia, after people across the country cast votes for members of the State Duma — the lower house of the Russian Parliament — and several regional and municipal heads.
With 28.75% of the ballots counted at the time of writing, Russia’s Central Election Commission said United Russia had so far gained 44.92%, RIA Novosti reported.
Early results also showed the Communist Party trailing behind with 21.96%.
Opposition members and independent observers have raised concerns over alleged instances of voter fraud. In comments Sunday, election officials said they had annulled some votes in question. The head of Russia’s Central Election Commission, Ella Pamfilova also pushed back on “hype,” saying officials had counted a total of only 12 cases of ballot stuffing in the whole country, across just 8 districts.
The election has also been criticized by members of the country’s political opposition who allege Russian authorities interfered in their candidacy, claims Pamfilova has also dismissed, saying the elections represent the country’s “entire political and social spectrum.”
A once-significant presence in Russia’s political landscape was missing this year, however. In April, Russian authorities outlawed the political movement of prominent Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny, labeling it “extremist,” forcing it to shut down and rendering its members ineligible to run in the elections.
Navalny himself was imprisoned earlier this year after a Moscow court ruled he had violated parole conditions in a 2014 case.