Three weeks before Russia’s parliamentary, regional and local elections, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s party, United Russia, according to recent opinion polls, received just over 25% vote intent, the lowest rate since its founding, which reflects significant erosion. From the official formation.
According to a poll conducted last week by the Center for Public Opinion Studies (VTsIOM, for its Russian acronym) only 26.4% of Russians were willing to vote for the Kremlin’s head’s party, when the polls were five years ago. Grant him 43.3%.
However, United Russia (UK) leads in the polls, followed by the Communist Party with 17.2%, which would merge as a second force, ahead of the ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic Party with 9%, while it is in fourth place. Only Russia Bloc – Patriots of Russia – for the truth by 6.7%.
However, despite the fact that opinion polls show a fair distribution, practically no one doubts that United Russia will win a comfortable absolute majority in the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament.
And that only half of the 450 Duma deputies are chosen by party lists. The other half is elected in majority constituencies in which the ruling party is broadly enforced.
Shield against the participation of opponents
But it is not only the electoral system that favors the UK, as prominent opponents of this election have been sidelined by the implementation of a series of recently passed laws that have been denounced as violating the rights of citizens.
According to electoral law expert Vladimir Shveda, one of the main goals of legal innovations is to prevent candidates associated with opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is currently serving a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence, from appearing on the ballot. Leaves.
For this reason, al-Faqih explained, in a short time a system was created that is fairly effective, but not completely unconstitutional, because it deprives citizens who have not been sentenced to prison of their rights to be elected.
It is enough for the court to declare an extremist organization, as happened with the structures created by Navalny, to all persons who participated in one way or another, even before that judicial decision, who see their right to vote in violation.
Among the most famous cases, the cancellation of the candidacy for the post of Deputy Speaker of the State Duma Lev Schlossberg, leader of the liberal Yabloko party, by a decision of a Moscow court, which considered that the politician was linked to Navalny’s organizations.
After hearing the verdict, Ella Panfilova declared: “As the head of the Central Election Commission (CEC), I am obligated to comply with the judicial decision (…) but I personally cannot believe that he (Schlossberg) has any links with extremists.”
Prominent communist leader Pavel Grudinin, Putin’s rival in the 2018 presidential election, was also disqualified from the race after his ex-wife denounced him for holding shares abroad.
The epidemic leaves its mark
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, voting will be extended from September 16 to 19 to avoid crowds, and in seven entities of the Russian Federation, including Moscow, voters will be able to vote online.
This circumstance presents an additional difficulty for the observers who will monitor the cleanliness of the elections.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) refused to send its monitors after Russia limited their number to 60 for health reasons.
The OSCE had intended to send 80 long-term observers and 420 more to Russia to monitor the final days of the election campaign and the vote itself.
In the elections to be held from September 16 to 19, in addition to deputies to the State Duma, 12 heads of federal entities, 23 regional parliaments and 11 city councils of federal entities will be elected.
“In this election they seek to show that they are in control of the situation, and therefore they are a test of the regional elites’ loyalty to the Kremlin,” Russian political expert Dmitry Oreshkin told the Echo of Moscow.
He added that the important thing for the Kremlin is that they give the correct electoral result. “How to get that number is their problem. But no one will investigate and no one will be allowed to investigate,” he said.
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