Russia’s ruling party has tightened its grip on the Duma after parliamentary elections on Sunday were marred by irregularities and the lowest turnout in president Vladimir Putin’s 17 years in power.  With more than 93 per cent of the vote counted, figures from the Central Election Commission on Monday showed that United Russia, the main pro-Kremlin party, had secured 54.1 per cent of votes for party lists and bagged 203 of the 255 seats allocated through single-member constituencies. That would give the party 76 per cent of the 450 seats in the lower house of parliament, up from the 53 per cent it holds now.  The results are a massive victory for Mr Putin and the Kremlin’s “political technologists”, the spin-doctors who tweaked the electoral system following street protests over fraud at the last Duma election five years ago.

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