Russian polling station in Goa
Moscow: In a first, Russia is opening a polling station in Goa to enable its citizens to cast their vote to elect the State Duma -- lower house of the Parliament on Sunday.
"The voting will be held at from 11 AM to 15 PM on Sunday the residence of the Indian lawyer looking after Russian interests in Goa," Russian Consul General Alexei Novikov was quoted as saying by ITAR-TASS news agency.
Being the tourist season there are over 10,000 Russian citizens holidaying or living in the popular Indian resort and arrangements have been made through hotels to inform them of the opportunity to vote.
Besides, polling stations for the Russian nationals will be open in the country`s embassy in New Delhi and consulates in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.
The Russian technical experts posted in the Indian defence and civilian installations have already cast their votes in early polling at Bareilly, Chandigarh, Vishakhapattanam and Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant.
Meanwhile, polling stations opened in the country`s far eastern parts of Kamchatka and Yakutiya.
According to the Chairman of Central Election Commission Vladimir Churov over one hundred thousand polling stations will be open across the country spread over nine time zones beginning from 8 AM to 8 PM local time.
The early returns are to be announced arround 9 PM Moscow time (10.30 IST) after the polling stations close in the westernmost Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad.
India`s Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi is in Russia to monitor Duma polls along with over 700 international monitors crucial polls to elect sixth post Soviet parliament of the country at which after 12 years of `managed democracy` the ruling United Russia party of Vladimir Putin is set to lose its absolute majority in the 450-strong lower house.
Various opinion polls carried out before the elections forecast the loss of absolute majority by the United Russia in the new house.
Formally chaired by Vladimir Putin, United Russia had 315 seats in the fifth Duma, which allowed him as Prime Minister to push through unpopular laws shelving Soviet era perks like free healthcare and education.
Opinion polls indicated that majority of Russians are indifferent to the Duma elections as the polls are expected be won by United Russia, the Communist Party of Russian Federation (KPRF), the ultranationalist LDPR and A Just Russia, which are already represented in the lower house while the three outsiders - Yabloko, the Right Cause and Patriots of Russia are unlikely to cross 7 per cent votes threshold.
The KPRF and A Just Russia party of ex-upper house chairman Sergei Mironov are expected to mostly gain from anti-incumbency wave in the regions. Over 3 hundred thousand police and 10 thousand interior ministry troops have been deployed across the country to prevent any untoward incidents and ensure security.
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