Russia's lower house of parliament has rejected a motion of no-confidence in the government of Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov.

The no-confidence measure was backed by 172 deputies in the 450-seat State Duma, while 163 lawmakers voted against it and six abstained. The motion needed a simple majority of 226 votes to pass.

Wednesday's vote, initiated by communist lawmakers and the liberal Yabloko party, was not expected to succeed because the chamber is dominated by pro-Kremlin moderates.

Opposition parties in the Duma accused the government of failing to make progress on economic reforms and increase standards of living. The government views the vote as the opening round of the campaign for parliamentary elections, scheduled for December, and presidential elections set for early next year.