Russia's ruling party loses seats but wins election

Supporters of Russia's ruling party celebrated winning the majority of the vote late Sunday, amid a sweeping crackdown of its critics.

But partial results on Monday showed the United Russia Party still lost significant ground in the legislature.

With the ballot count inching towards completion, the Central Election Commission said the party, which supports President Vladimir Putin, retained its parliamentary majority - winning around half the vote.

Its nearest rival the Communist Party, which also backs the Kremlin on most key issues, came in at just over 20%.

But the results so far indicate a weaker performance from United compared to its last election win in 2016.

Years of faltering living standards in the country, as well as allegations of corruption from jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, have drained some support for United Russia.

Other Kremlin critics, who have decried the elections as a sham, say the party would have fared much worse in a fair contest.

Prior to the election, Navalny's allies were barred from running after his movement was banned in June as extremist.

Critical media and non-governmental organisations were also targeted.

Golos, an election watchdog accused of being a foreign agent by authorities, recorded thousands of violations including threats against observers and ballot stuffing.

Electoral authorities however have insisted that the overall contest has been fair, while the Kremlin denied a politically-driven crackdown.

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