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Russian Parliamentary Election Update – Putin’s party maintains strong lead

ALTERNATIVE CROP OF MOSB107 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wave during the United Russia party congress in Moscow, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011. Russia's dominant political party on Saturday nominated Vladimir Putin for president, almost certainly ensuring his return to the office he held for eight years, and approved Putin's proposal that current president Dmitry Medvedev swap places and become prime minister. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Yekaterina Shtukina, Presidential Press Service)

With just over 10% of the vote counted the results of the Russian parliamentary elections seems to be broadly in line with the exit polls

After counting 10.02% of ballots, the Central Election Commission has said that United Russia party is winning 45.98% of the vote, Zhirinovsky’s LDPR is scoring 17.39%, and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, or CPRF is third with 16.76%. A Just Russia is fourth, with 6.36% of votes, and Communists of Russia is fifth, with 2.84%.

The Communists are still confident of coming second, and it may be that as more votes roll in from European Russia their share of the vote will increase and will overtake that of the LPDR, which however does seem to be having a good night.  

It should be said that the aggregate Communist vote may not actually be down on that of the previous election of 2011.  It could be that some Communist voters have confused the Communists of Russia (currently on 2.84%) with what might be called the “official” Communist Party, which is the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (currently on 16.76%).   The combined current vote of these two parties is 19.6%, which is actually slightly higher than the 19.19% the Communist Party of the Russian Federation achieved in the 2011 elections.  

Next are the minor parties which are unlikely to win the 5% of the vote needed to gain admission to the Duma in the part of the Duma which is being decided on the basis of the proportional representation/party list system:

Russian Party of Pensioners for Justice (2.08% of votes), Rodina (Motherland, 1.44%), Yabloko (1.35%), Party of Growth (1.07%), the Green Party (0.79%), Patriots of Russia (0.73%), Khodorkovksy’s party Parnas (0.68%), and Civil Platform (0.28%). Civil Power is following in the rear with 0.14% of the vote.

In the single member constituencies, which are being allocated on a first part the post system, United Russia as predicted is heading for a landslide.  As of the time of writing United Russia is leading in 136 constituencies, followed by A Just Russia with 6, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and A Just Russia with 4 each, and by Khodorkovsky’s Parnas party, the liberal Civil Platform, and the nationalist Rodina party with 1 each.

The aggregate vote throughout Russia of the various liberal parties (Yabloko, Parnas, Civil Platform and Civil Power) seems to be around 4% – roughly in line with what they achieved in the 2011 parliamentary elections.  The fact that Parnas and Civil Platform may be winning in one single member constituency each is almost certainly a consequence of the very low turnout in Moscow (around 32%), where liberal votes are heavily concentrated and where, because of the higher motivation of liberal voters, liberal parties might be expected to benefit from a lower turnout.

In my opinion the Russian authorities would actually welcome the odd victory by liberal candidates in single member constituencies in Moscow.  The protests which followed the 2011 parliamentary elections were overwhelmingly focused on Moscow, and reflected the anger of liberal voters in that city that despite accounting for around 9% of the city’s electorate they failed to gain any representation in the Duma. 

The amendment to the election rules to allow single member constituencies was in my opinion partly intended to accommodate this feeling so as to take the sting out of any anger in Moscow after the election, dampening the prospect of protests there.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.

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First exit polls in Russia election point to another win for Putin party

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