Russia's parliamentary elections to begin in few hours

Ever less time is left before the elections to the State Duma of the fourth convocation start.

When the clock strikes 23 hours in Moscow, the first polling stations will open in the easternmost parts of the country - Chukotka and Kamchatka - at 8 a.m., local time, on Sunday.

On that day 94,000 electoral districts will be open in Russia and 339 in 140 other countries.

More than 109 million people will be able to take part in the elections, including over 1 million Russians that will be abroad at the time. They are to elect 225 State Duma deputies out of the 2,000 candidates in single-mandate electoral districts and also 225 parliamentarians, nominated by 23 political parties and election blocs.

The voters, on whom a flood of election speeches has been poured in the recent weeks, have been given a calm day before the voting - all campaigning is prohibited on this day. On Saturday they can "calmly think over what they have heard to make their own choice," head of the Central Election Commission Alexander Veshnyakov said.

As many as 1,200 foreign observers from 48 countries and 35 international organizations will watch if legality is duly observed. They will be present at the polling stations not only in Moscow, but also in most of Russia's regions, including Chechnya.

Besides, 800,000 local observers, most of them from political parties, will exercise public control.

The first preliminary election returns will be publicly announced already on the voting day at 21:00, Moscow Time, after the polling stations in the westernmost Kaliningrad Region at the Baltic Sea close. The "final" preliminary results of the voting will be known on Monday at noon.

The official results of the elections will be announced on December 19. At that time the presidential election campaign will be under way in Russia.

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Author`s name Editorial Team