Preliminary results showed that United Russia retained a parliamentary majority in the elections. The party allied with President Putin won about 49% of the vote after 74% of the votes were counted. It is followed by the Communist Party with about 20 percent of the vote.
Compared to the last parliamentary elections in 2016, the results look somewhat worse for United Russia. At that time, the party received more than 54 percent of the vote.
But critics say the party’s performance would have been worse had it not been for the fraud. “Some observers have been talking about the most seriously rigged election in a long time,” says reporter Geert Grote-Korkamp. “Although the statistics should show it.”
Grote Corkamp says the election design was in any case in the interest of United Russia. “They were distributed over three days. Three days of voting meant that it was much more difficult to monitor. Monitors could not keep track of everything day and night for three days. In addition, part of the votes were cast electronically. This also provides scope for fraud.”
Protest votes for the Communist Party
In the past year, important organizations have been virtually sidelined. For example, allies of opposition leader Navalny, who is serving a two-and-a-half year prison sentence in a punishment camp, were barred from running after a judge called Navalny’s move “extremist” in June.
The opposition leader’s move encouraged voters to tactically vote against United Russia before the elections. Basically, they had to vote for the candidate most likely to beat the United Russia candidate in a particular electoral district.
Compared to previous elections, the Communist Party made relatively large gains. “It won’t directly lead to a different situation in Parliament, but it does suggest that some of the protest votes go to those kinds of parties,” Grote Corkamp says.
According to Grote Korkamp, there are no direct consequences for the results of interim elections. “It’s a kind of musical chair. Parliament will not change and will only pass laws that it has to pass from the president. United Russia may have fewer seats, but the constitutional majority will not be in jeopardy.”
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