With over 50% of the votes counted in Russia’s parliamentary elections Putin’s party United Russia appears to be heading for a landslide win with around 53% of the votes.
The winner-takes-all nature of the first past the post system being used in the single member constituencies which make up half the total of seats in the Duma meanwhile means that with 53% of the vote United Russia is sweeping the great majority of these constituencies.
The result is that United Russia is heading for a lopsided 70% majority in the Duma, giving Putin and the party what in Russia is called a ‘constitutional majority’ – one which would enable them to change the constitution without needing the support of other parties – though there is no talk of any constitutional amendments being proposed at the moment.
Battling for a very distant second place are Zhirinovsky’s LDPR and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, each with around 14-15% of the vote. In an even further distant fourth place, with just over 6% of the vote, is the social democratic A Just Russia.
No other party appears to have crossed the 5% threshold need to win representation in the section of the Duma which is elected by the proportional representation/party list system, though it is possible that perhaps two liberals will gain seats in the Duma by winning votes in single member first past the post constituencies.
Despite the low turnout – which appears however to be higher than the 40% earlier reported – this is a decisive victory by United Russia by any measure. Putin’s and the Kremlin’s hold of the Duma remains as strong as ever.