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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lawmakers Storm Out of Duma Session in Election Protest

MOSCOW — Lawmakers from all but the main Kremlin-favored party staged a rare walkout from the parliament Wednesday to protest what they describe as rigged local elections.

It was the first time in nine years that all factions other than United Russia had walked out in protest.

The United Russia party won an overwhelming victory in more than 7,000 local elections in 75 of Russia's 83 regions on Sunday. In Moscow, the party won all but three seats on the 35-member city council.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the nationalist Liberal Democrats, was the first to lead his faction out of the State Duma session in protest. They were soon followed by the Communist Party and A Just Russia, which along with United Russia was formed with Kremlin support.

"We demand a recount of the votes across the country. We don't agree with the election results," Zhirinovsky said before leaving the session. "We will return only after a meeting with the head of state."

Independent election observers and opposition parties, including the Communists, have claimed that there were mass electoral violations during the voting.

United Russia dominates the national parliament, the State Duma, where it holds 315 of the 450 seats. Three other parties are represented but generally offer little opposition.

President Dmitry Medvedev described the elections as "well-organized" and conducted "in accordance with the law."

The elections were seen as a test of Medvedev's commitment to democracy in Russia.