Putin’s party set to retain majority after polls

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Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s party was set on Sunday to retain a majority in parliament on the last day of three-day elections in which most Kremlin critics were barred from the ballot.

The vote comes in the wake of an unprecedented crackdown on the opposition this year, with Russian authorities jailing Putin’s best-known domestic foe Alexei Navalny and banning his organisations as “extremist”.

In the lead-up to this weekend’s vote, all of his top allies were arrested or had fled the country, with anyone associated with his groups kept from running in the parliamentary and local polls scheduled to close at 8:00 pm Sunday.—AFP

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