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Over 45% Vote in First Ever Crimean Parliament Elections Since Reunification

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More than 45 percent of Crimeans had gone to polls as of 6 p.m. local time (14:00 GMT) as the former Ukrainian peninsular on the Black Sea was voting Sunday in its first ever parliamentary election since the reunification with Russia in mid-March, according to the election commission.

SIMFEROPOL, September 14 (RIA Novosti) - More than 45 percent of Crimeans had gone to polls as of 6 p.m. local time (14:00 GMT) as the former Ukrainian peninsular on the Black Sea was voting Sunday in its first ever parliamentary election since the reunification with Russia in mid-March, according to the election commission.

The election commission head said that 45 percent of registered voters had cast their ballots as of 6 p.m. local and Moscow time.

"The United Russia, Liberal-Democratic party and the Communist Party are in the lead. The rest of the parties, according to public opinion polls, don't stand a chance of getting past the 5-percent threshold," a Crimean political analyst, Denis Baturin, told RIA Novosti.

On Sunday, the citizens of the two new Russian regions of Crimea and Sevastopol were electing their parliaments and all the local authorities.

A total of 803 candidates and 12 parties had been registered for elections at all levels, including those into Crimean Republic's State Council, a regional legislature with 75 seats, according to the Crimean elections commission.

Polling stations closed at 8 p.m. local time. "The election is over, there have been no grave violations that could affect the voting results," Alexei Kondratenko, deputy head of the Crimean election commission, told RIA Novosti.

He pledged however that the complaints about the election procedure that had been submitted to the commission would be thoroughly investigated.

September 14 is the single all-Russian voting day. On this day Russia witnesses about 6,000 local elections of different levels, including the elections of 30 out of 85 heads of Russian regions and 14 regional parliaments.

Crimea cut ties with Ukraine and reunited with Russia on March 16 as its Russian-speaking population refused to recognize the new coup-imposed authorities in Kiev. The move was preceded by a referendum, in which the reunification with Moscow was backed by over 96 percent of voters.

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