Pro-Kremlin party leading vote with 39%: early results

President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party was leading in the country’s parliamentary election with 39 percent of the vote, according to first results announced after polling stations closed on Sunday. 

The vote was held in the wake of a crackdown on the opposition and independent media that saw Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny jailed and his organisations banned.

With just more than 10 percent of votes counted, United Russia had received 39.2 percent, Russia’s central election commission said.

The Communists followed with 24.7 percent and the nationalist LDPR party with 9.5 percent.

In the last elections to the lower house State Duma in 2016, United Russia received 54.2 percent of the vote and the Communists 13.3 percent. 

The Communists were likely given a boost by Navalny’s “Smart Voting” strategy, which advised voters who to support to have the best hope of defeating Kremlin-aligned politicians.

In this election most of its voting list consisted of Communist Party candidates. 

The last polling stations closed in the exclave region of Kaliningrad at 1800 GMT, ending elections that were held across three days both in-person and online.

Turnout was at 45 percent according to the latest figures released by the election commission at 1500 GMT.