Fresh Faces on Political Stage After State Duma Election

Fresh Faces on Political Stage After State Duma Election

Photo: https://www.kommersant.ru/

The elections to the 8th State Duma lower house of Parliament and regional government bodies ended in Russia on September 19. Representatives of 14 political parties competed for deputy mandates on the federal list. Two parties nominated candidates for the State Duma elections for the first time.

The three-day voting was arranged to avoid queues at polling stations during the complicated epidemiological situation. Online voting which was available to voters residing in seven regions of Russia became an innovation in this election campaign.

As CEC Deputy Chairman Nikolai Bulaev told the media, “Online voting is being introduced gradually. We are carrying it out in a careful and balanced way. We would like to test remote e-voting in an election, limiting it to 1-1.5 million voters.”

However, the reality exceeded all expectations. It was in the online mode that more than 2.5 million people in Moscow, Sevastopol, and the Kursk, Murmansk, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov, and Yaroslavl regions voted over those three days. More than 1.9 million people voted remotely in Moscow, while about 2 million voters went to the polling stations. That is, for the first time, the number of those who voted online was almost equal to the number of those who chose to vote at the polling station. Moreover, it turns out that online voting increases turnout. Thus, the final turnout during online voting in the State Duma elections in seven Russian regions was 93.21%. In Moscow, the final turnout for online voting was 96.5% (1.94 mln people). The final turnout was 93.48% in the Murmansk region, 89.64% in Sevastopol, 91.76% in the Nizhny Novgorod region, 94.47% in the Yaroslavl region, 92.83% in the Kursk region, and 92.01% in the Rostov region.

The internet voting system was also used by the country's high-ranking officials. For example, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin voted at his workplace. According to him, “it is simple, easy-to-understand, and, most importantly, convenient. You make your choice with one click and without any rush.” Russian President Vladimir Putin also voted online.

“United Russia ran a steady and fairly strong campaign, focusing on reminding the voters about what remains to be done and what the party has already done,” Alexei Mukhin, CEO of the Political Information Center, told Vek. “For example, in welfare and the economy. In essence, it is nothing short of a real ‘road map,’ according to which the plan will be implemented. There is every possibility for it. In particular, the plan is to raise the social status of citizens of the Russian Federation.”

So, the results of processing 90% of the votes in the elections to the 8th convocation of the State Duma showed that five political parties had passed the 5% threshold: United Russia with 49.66% of the votes, the CPRF with 19.56%, the LDPR with 7.51%, A Just Russia with 7.38% and New People with 5.33%. In other words, the lower house setup will change as voters will see some fresh faces. Meanwhile, residents of nine regions supported incumbent governors in direct gubernatorial elections.

Andrei Turchak, Secretary of the General Council of the United Russia party, announced that according to the preliminary results of the election, United Russia had a constitutional majority in the State Duma. They will get 315 mandates in the State Duma. That is 120 mandates from the electoral lists and 195 from single-seat constituencies. Turchak underlined that the vote was fair and competitive and the United Russia faction in the 8th State Duma would be renewed by more than half.

According to CPRF leader Gennady Zyuganov, the CPRF party, together with the people's patriotic forces, performed very well in the elections. Zyuganov particularly mentioned those voters living in Siberia and the Far East who actively voted for the CPRF. To his thinking, these high results show that ‘the wind of freedom and the country's revival is blowing today from the east.”

LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky said that the party had given 120%. Activists and members of the LDPR drove across all Russian regions in 15 campaign buses, he said. Zhirinovsky was happy for Mikhail Degtyarev, “a politician fostered by the LDPR,” who won the first round of voting in the Khabarovsk gubernatorial election.

“As for the opposition,” says Mukhin, “they, unfortunately for them, positioned themselves only as an opponent of United Russia on the ‘for all good against all bad’ approach. Scolding United Russia, they canceled out those social initiatives, which United Russia offered. Thus, they put themselves in a very stupid situation. This reminded me of the proverb ‘just to spite Grandma, I’ll freeze my ears off.’ In addition, the opposition made so many promises that it was clear from the very beginning that they would be able to deliver, even if a miracle happened and the opposition somehow united with the CPRF, LDPR, A Just Russia, etc.”

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