As of 10 a.m. Moscow time today, with 90.58% of ballots counted, United Russia was continuing to lead, with 36.8% of the votes in the election for the new State Duma. The report came from Aleksandr Veshnyakov, chairman of the Central Election Committee of the Russian Federation, at a briefing at the Elections-2003 press center, Rosbalt said. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation had 12.7% of the vote, and the Liberal Democratic Party 11.8%. The Rodina bloc had 9% of the vote, Yabloko 4.3%, the Union of Right Forces 3.9% and the Agrarian Party of Russia 3.8%. The remaining electoral groupings had from 0.1% to 3.2% of the vote. Some 4.7% of those voting voted against all candidates.
Europe has recognised the need for negotiations with Russia to discuss the security system on the continent. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is going to Macedonia for meetings with colleagues within the OSCE