A dramatic fall for communists in Russia; Liberals could not be a major opposition

The elections held on the 18th of September for Duma which is the lower wing of the parliament, resulted in a victory for the United Russia party

A dramatic fall for communists in Russia; Liberals could not be a major opposition

Baris Mutlu - Moscow

The elections of member of parliaments for Duma which is the lower wing of the Russian Parliament resulted in a victory for United Russia, the leading party.

In comparison to the previous elections, United Russia which gained six points has made its position as the leading party more concrete and when you consider the arithmetics of the council it has achieved a huge success.  The party which was represented by 238 MP's last week, has gained the necessary numbers to make changes in the constitution after obtaining 343 MP's on Sundays elections.

The opposition had a huge loss of blood.  While the Liberal Democrat party and the Communist party both received 13 percent of votes each, the Justice Russia party's votes dropped from 13 to 6 percent.  While the Liberals got the same votes as the Communists for the first time, the smaller parties who are 7 percent (some are five - six) were actually way below the election threshold.  225 MPs were determined according to the vote spread because of the changed election system.  The other half of council was renewed by the narrow region election system.  Parties like Citizens Platform and Rodina were able to get representation in council even if only one seat, because of this reason.

The Duma elections were the lowest turnout in elections in the country's history.  Only 48 percent of voters actually voted.  Whereas in the year 2011, 60 percent of voters had participated in the elections.  The leading party had a net response to the contrary evaluation of experts and the discussions which question the outlook of democracy.  According to the United Russia partys' management, most of the voters who did not participate in the elections were sure of the victory of the leading party.  Hence if the participation was to be much higher there would be no adverse difference for United Russia.

With the parliament elections of Russia on Sunday, new and famous names have been included into Duma.  Names coming from bureacrat, army, newspaper, arts, sports and even the show world have been elected as MP.  Two names which is of much interest from among them are Natalya Poklonskaya who was the head prosecutor of Crimea and Gennadi Onnisenko who was the former surgeon general of Russia.  Poklonskaya was in the world public agenda with tough precautions she took during the annexation of Crimea and afterwards.  Omnisenko was the target of much criticism with his preparation of health reports in line with the Kremlin policies.

Those among the famous and new names of council include General Vladimir Samanov, wrestler Vitaliy Milonov, actress Anna Snatkina, television presenters Pyotr Tolstoy, Yevgeni Revenko and Oksana Puskina, director Yuri Kara and Elena Yampolskaya the editor in chief of Kultura newspaper.  A common point that they all have is that they have entered Duma from the list of the United Russia party.

Despite the colorful attempts, the Duma elections did not entice much excitement throughout Russia.
The inactiveness during the propaganda period, the indifference of the citizens towards the elections and the foresight of the results has brought together with it a much lower participation compared to the former election.  While the leading and the opposition parties have evaluated this outcome in their favor, the majority of political analysts is of the opinion that this is the outcome of disbelief in the current system.  The president Putin has accepted the low participation but has defended that the arguments for legitimacy are not realistic.

The injustice of the elections were not limited with the irregularities in the absolute day the elections were conducted.  Prior to the elections which took place without much noise, the opposition found it difficult to find avenues for their voice to be heard.  Even if they were to say pleasant things , how could they get a response given the atmosphere of the country at the time ? Nearly in every argument; ' Crimea was taken over, response was given to USA in all areas, became a leading player in the Middle East, the Petrol crisis could not (completely) destroy the economy' were arguments that were concentrated on.  In addition to this it was elaborated that international politics was in a critical state so a very strong leader 'exactly at this point in time' is necessary was emphasized; the country would be let to disaster by a leader like Yanukovic who would grab his hat and go at the first signs of danger or the looming of darkness was clearly expressed.

According to Putin, international politics had a big effect on the elections resulting in favor of the leading party.  With the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis there was political pressure against Russia which resulted in a reaction by the people which was reminded by the opposition also supported the President's view.  Along with embargo and sanctions even the isolation policies of the overseas Russians; the annexation of Crimea together with the operations in Syria has given a chance in the country for a widespread nationalist atmosphere.  In the research conducted by companies regarding the trust towards the Kremlin, it was clearly observed that there was support positively reflected towards the United Russia Party, which was founded by Putin.  Since the year 2001 when it was founded to present,  United Russia  which has for the first time obtained the necessary majority to make changes in the constitution, is giving the message that new reforms will begin in many areas including the army and education.

Professor Irina Svagelskaya who has evaluated the election results, will be head of the team at the political science center which will concentrate on changes that can occur in the new period.  According to the Russian expert, the election results is not a surprise.  The new council will also insist in the old politics.  There is no expectation in a difference in any major policies which include the Ukrainian matters at the head of the list.

'The election results eventuated as per estimation.  This means Russia will continue with its current policies.  The new composition of council will continue in the old direction regarding internal and external politics.  Lets consider the relations with Ukraine.  A new election of ours, or a change is not really a factor of effect.  This matter depends on a change in Ukraine's attitude.  They have a leadership problem.  As Turkey you know well the importance of strong leadership.  They are also really weak on an institutionalization level.  They have an abundance in actors who are outside the state, yes but this is a big hurdle in front of the actual working of the institutions.  How can you compromise with this type of structure and carry out the compromisation?  For this reason the elections of the Ukrainian people is of more importance than the elections which we will do.'

The elections which were held on Sunday also turned into a nightmare for the opposition.  The only opposition faction which increased its votes was Jirinovski's Liberal Party.  However despite this they suffered a loss in the number of MPs.  The communists who have continually had losses, have gone into a process of internal conflict as a result of the recent elections which can be considered as devastating.

The Justice Russia Party whose votes have dropped to half is now questioning their leadership and therefore their leader Sergey Mironov.  For the likes of Parnas and Yabloko who defend freedoms , who have votes in the one thousands, have really understood that they have no correspondence in the public.

The inequality in the propaganda period and the irregularities experienced on the election day was voiced by the Russian media even though it was limited.  It has been voiced by the opposition leaders the tough reactions towards the opposition and the observers, at the time of voting and the time of vote counting, especially in regions far from centres.  However the authorities have rejected these claims on account that there was cameras recording  in the sections where the ballot boxes were.  It is also a matter of criticizing that the media has limited the opposition, especially the state run television.  However as there are state owned companies in the partnership structures of the media organizations which are active in the country, it is a serious hurdle in front of a broad discussion on the objections in regards to this topic.

As a result of the changed election system, there are two different categories of representation in the parliament.  Half of the MPs  have entered parliament as names listed by their party and the level of votes that have been obtained.  However the other half consists of those who have received the highest votes in the region.  Even though the United Russia Party with its 343 MP's is seen as it does not need any support from the opposition, there is a danger.  Those who have been elected as first in the regions, will push for more rights and service in their locality.  Those who have been elected from the lists of the party will naturally defend the center.  This is a possibility for contradiction.  The damaging effects of the opposition may not be felt in this period (when was it ever felt) but the two different categories inside the leading party, may constantly come in opposition with different compositions.

For example, when the budget calculations are made for the regions, if there needs to be an extra payment or there is a request for some rights that may put the centre in a difficult situation then these two different catagories of MP groups may confront each other.  In this period of confrontation, the MPs who have been elected as first in the region may push for their requests as they will claim that they have more of the will of the people.  Hence it will be difficult for them to ask for votes in future elections if they are seen as MPs who cannot defend and obtain in Moscow, the requests of the people in their region.

Naturally this possible contradiction may result in a weakness for governance, in countries where there is a strong democracy.  The two categories of MP groups will collide into the walls of the Kremlin before they form opposite sides as a result of feuds.  It is not difficult for President Putin to avoid internal feuds in the party that he founded. Regardless, as the party members are bound by strong webs of interests, there will be fast back steps correspondingly before these feuds reach alarming levels.

 

 

 

 

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Eylül 2016, 08:01
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