Russia: The winners and the losers

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The Independent Online
PRELIMINARY results from more than three-quarters of Russia's regions showed yesterday that Vladimir Zhirinovsky's ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic Party had a firm lead over other parties. Russia's Choice, the reformist bloc that supports Boris Yeltsin, was a distant second and the Communist Party third.

In Sunday's vote for the 450-seat State Duma, or lower house of parliament, half the seats went to candidates elected on national party-lists and half to candidates elected in constituencies. In the party-list section, early results from 68 of Russia's 89 regions gave the Liberal Democrats 24 per cent, Russia's Choice 13.7 per cent, the Communist Party 11.7 per cent and the Communist-allied Agrarian Party 9.6 per cent.

In the constituencies, independents outperformed the parties. They won 46 of the first 83 seats declared. Many have Communist career backgrounds and are hostile to radical economic reform. Early results gave Russia's Choice 11 seats, the Agrarian Party eight and the Liberal Democrats four.

Letters, page 15

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