Communists, observers report violations in Russian election

MOSCOW (AP) — The head of Russia’s Communist Party, the country’s second-largest political party, is alleging widespread violations in the election for a new national parliament in which his party is widely expected to gain seats. Communist Party head Gennady Zyuganov said Saturday — the second of three days of voting — that police and the national election commission must respond to reports of “a number of absolutely egregious facts” including ballot-stuffing in several regions. The Golos election-monitoring movement and independent media also reported violations including vote-buying and lax measures for guarding ballots at polling stations. The United Russia party, which is loyal to President Vladimir Putin, appears certain to retain dominance in the State Duma, the lower house of parliament.