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Pro-Kremlin Party Leads Chechnya Parliament Race

Early results from parliamentary elections in the southern Russian republic of Chechnya show the main pro-Kremlin political party with a strong lead.

News reports from Russia early Monday say preliminary returns indicate the United Russia party won about 60 percent of the vote in Sunday's election to fill 58 seats in the local assembly.

Moscow has expressed hope the election will help bring stability and peace to the war-torn republic, but international human rights groups have said Chechnya is still too violent to hold a legitimate democratic election.

After more than 10 years of war, Chechnya is plagued by almost daily violence and kidnappings, high unemployment, a lack of social programs and limited utilities.

Sunday's election was the first parliamentary vote in Chechnya since Moscow regained control of the region from Islamic separatists in 1999.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.