In Russia’s Far East, early voting for the lower house, scheduled for September 19, began Friday morning local time.

Russia is divided into 11 time zones, so the Kamchatka and Chukotka regions of the Far East were the first to open polling stations on Friday at 8 am.

– We will do everything we can to make the electoral process open and transparent – confirmed the head of the Central Election Commission, Ella Pamfilova.

President Vladimir Putin, on Thursday, called on citizens to participate in the elections to the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, starting from early voting. He said this is a very important event for the country.

Putin said the Russians “are interested in having responsible, energetic and reliable people who can keep their word” coming to parliament. Russia – in his opinion – needs deputies “who can be counted on as Russian patriots, ready to decisively and consistently pursue national interests in all areas.”

The Kremlin host called on citizens to come to the polling stations “on an appropriate day, starting from September 17” or use the possibility of electronic voting.

Collaborators with opposition activist Alexei Navalny published, on Wednesday, the names of the candidates they recommended in the elections to the State Duma. These are the candidates who, according to opposition estimates, have the best chance of defeating representatives of the ruling United Russia party in their constituencies. Navalny, who is serving a prison sentence, calls for voting for these rivals of United Russia, which, in his opinion, supposedly weakens the advantage of the ruling party in the State Duma.

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