Putin Battered at Russian Polls

Vladimir Putin may want to reconsider his run for president next year: his United Russia party took an unexpected drubbing at the polls over the weekend, receiving just under 50 percent of the vote. That’s not enough to oust the party from power in Parliament, but it does eliminate the two-thirds majority that allowed it to change the Constitution unchallenged. Opposition parties and European observers, meanwhile, are alleging widespread fraud, including ballot stuffing and bribing voters. The head of Russia’s Electoral Commission said United Russia should have a slim majority in Parliament, with 238 out of 450 seats.