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Last Updated: Monday, 8 December, 2003, 15:25 GMT
Delight and horror at Russian poll
United Russia supporters
United Russia is cock-a-hoop - its opponents are not

Russia's parliamentary election has brought success for the United Russia party and defeat for the Communist Party and two liberal parties, Yabloko and the Union of Right Forces.

Two nationalist parties, the Liberal Democratic Party and the Motherland party, did better than expected.

Head of OSCE observer group Bruce George: "In this election the enormous advantage of incumbency and access to state equipment, resources and buildings led to the election result being overwhelmingly distorted."

Russian President Vladimir Putin: "The main lesson from the State Duma election is that yet another step has been made toward strengthening democracy in Russia. The Russian people had yet another opportunity to elect the organs of power. And the government provided fair, free and open elections."

Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov: "You are all participating in a disgusting spectacle that for some reason people are calling an election... This embarrassing farce... has nothing to do with democracy."

I thank Russians for 10 years of support
Grigory Yavlinsky
Former Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, head of the Union of Right Forces party: "Those who defend the people's choice, independent press, independent courts, a separation of powers, who have always spoken out for co-operation with Europe... they will be a minority in the State Duma. The majority of the State Duma will be those who speak out for a police state, for limiting civil rights, for limiting independent courts... for a confrontation with the West."

Yabloko party chief Grigory Yavlinsky: "I thank Russians for 10 years of support."

Dmitry Rogozin, one of the leaders of the Motherland party: "Let's explode this myth about us being a Kremlin project... If we were a Kremlin project we would have won 20%."

Lyubov Sliska, of United Russia: "The United Russia party has won, the president has won. That means that democratic reforms in Russia will continue. This is a serious victory we can rightly be proud of."

Spain's El Mundo newspaper: "Putin now holds all the levers of power in Russia and this has accentuated the drift towards authoritarianism of an increasingly personal regime."




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's James Coomarasamy
"It was something of a foregone conclusion"



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