State Duma Elections: Putin’s United Russia claims record-breaking victory


September 19, 2016 – Fort Russ News – 

RIA Novosti – translated by J. Arnoldski

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United Russia scored one of its most convincing victories in Sunday’s elections to the State Duma. Receiving more than 54% of the vote, the party has secured a constitutional majority for itself in the lower house of parliament with a record number of mandates. In addition to United Russia, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF), the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), and A Just Russia have made it into the Duma.

The other parties that participated in the elections failed to overcome not only the 5% barrier necessary to be represented in the Duma, but also the 3% threshold to apply for state funding. However, Rodina and the Civic Platform will still be represented in the lower house given their victories in single-mandate districts. 

Political analysts interviewed by RIA Novosti believe that United Russia could appoint opposition representatives to a portion of leading roles and support other parties’ bills.

According to the voting results, United Russia won a record number of seats in the State Duma. In addition to the 140 deputy seats which the party won on federal lists, United Russia will also gain another 203 seats for single-mandates. Thus, United Russia’s mandates amounts to 343 out of 450 deputy chairs, a record in Russian political history.

Blue – United Russia/Purple – A Just Russia/Red-Communist Party/Black – other parties/Gold-Liberal Democratic Party/Cyan-independent

United Russia and the Central Electoral Commission have stated that United Russia will use its constitutional majority to introduce a number of constitutional amendments and overcome the presidential veto.

The best result in terms of the share of those voting for United Russia in the poles was in the Duma elections of 2007 when, under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin, the party won 64.3% of the votes. Then, it received a constitutional majority by taking 315 seats and became the first Russian party to wield such parliamentary power. In the 2011 elections, United Russia won 49.3% of the vote and received 238 parliamentary mandates.

United Russia

According to the latest data from the Central Electoral Commission upon counting 93% of votes, 13.45% of Russians gave their vote to the Communist Party, 13.24% to the Liberal Democratic Party, and 6.17% to the A Just Russia-ers. In addition, the KPRF and A Just Russia were victorious in 7 single-mandate districts each, while the LDPR won five. 

Communist Party of the Russian Federation

Liberal Democratic Party of Russia

Thus, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation will receive 42 mandates in the State Duma, the LDPR 39, and A Just Russia 23. For the communists and A Just Russia, this is a serious decline in their Duma representation. In the last elections in 2011, the KPRF won 50 mandates and A Just Russia claimed 41. The LDPR, then, is among the winners by gaining 17 new seats.

A Just Russia

According to the results of the vote in single-mandate districts which were held for the first time in recent years, Rodina and Civic Platform will also join the Duma, along with one independent candidate, Vladislav Reznik.


Civic Platform

Political analyst Gleb Kuznetsov believes that United Russia will offer leading positions in the State Duma to the opposition as a gesture of good will. “United Russia gave us single-mandate districts and, in general, did a lot to develop competition in these elections. Therefore, I posit that some leading posts in committees and the State Duma as a whole will be given to the opposition as a gesture of good will, thus allowing a rather interesting parliament to be created from the government’s point of view,” he noted.

In addition, Kuznetsov emphasized, despite the constitutional majority that United Russia boasts, representatives of the small parties that did not pass the 5% threshold will be elected to the Duma. Thus, from the point of view of representation, the Duma looks “quite full.”

Aleksey Zudin, a member of the Expert Council of the Institute for Socio-Economic and Political Studies, suggests that United Russia will cooperate with the opposition: “We can already see previous experience in bipartisan cooperation in the legislative sphere when United Russia supports some bills drafted by the opposition.”

The losing parties, including those who significantly lost to United Russia and those which will not enter the State Duma at all have assessed their failures differently. The leader of A Just Russia, Sergey Mironov, believes that the LDPR’s high results are linked to voters’ desire to vote against everyone. In this regard, he called for a revision of electoral legislation including the abolition of absentee ballots, early voting, and returning the “against all” option to ballot papers.

PARNAS believes that it couldn’t convince voters to come out and vote, the party’s deputy chairman, Konstanin Merzlikin, told RIA Novosti on Sunday. He noted that the elections had a low turnout. The chairman of the Communists of Russia Party, Sergey Malinkovich, and the deputy chairman of the Patriots of Russia Party, Nadezhda Korneeva, agreed with Merzlikin, calling the low turnout the reason for their losses.

On this note, according to the Central Electoral Commission’s latest data, the turnout throughout Russia was 47.81%, which is a fairly good figure for parliamentary elections.

According to Central Electoral Commission head Ella Pamfilova, the elections to the State Duma of the seventh convocation were legitimate. “One to two times less” violations were recorded during the voting and electoral campaign than during previous campaigns.

“Based on the information coming in from the regions, the number of complaints, appeals, and revealed violations is one to two times less…I have full confidence that the elections are completely legitimate, and we’ve done a lot to make this happen,” she said.

In Pamfilova’s opinion, it cannot be said that the percentage or level of abuses during the vote cast any doubt on the legitimacy of the elections.

On this note, the Central Electoral Commission did record three instances of ballot stuffing in three regions: Nizhegorod, Rostov, and Dagestan. The voting results in these regions will be cancelled. 

The commission monitoring illegal campaigns did not submit a single candidate to the Prosecutor General.

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