MOSCOW (AFP) - Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Monday hailed his ruling party's resounding regional election victory as a sign of public trust in the Russian authorities one year ahead of presidential elections. Sunday's polls were the final test of voter sympathies ahead of December parliamentary elections and a presidential ballot one year from now that could potentially see Putin return for a third term in the Kremlin. Preliminary results showed United Russia with commanding leads in each of the 12 local legislative elections in a vote that both the losing Communist Party and independent observers said was riddled with fraud. United Russia said it won 69 percent of all the contested legislative seats and scored impressive victories in other regional races. "This of course is a sign of trust in the authorities as a whole," Putin said in televised remarks. "This means that people - despite many of them feeling tired of all the problems, which is understandable - still view the authorities' actions in a positive light," he added.