Putin’s party scores crush­ing win in elec­tions

The Myanmar Times - - World -

RUS­SIA’S rul­ing United Rus­sia party cruised to an easy vic­tory in par­lia­men­tary polls that could pave the way for Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin to a fourth term in 2018 elec­tions.

The bal­lot for the 450-seat State Duma was smooth sail­ing for au­thor­i­ties des­per­ate to avoid a re­peat of mass protests last time round and eager to in­crease their dom­i­nance as Rus­sia faces the long­est eco­nomic cri­sis of Mr Putin’s rule.

But a low turnout sug­gested that many Rus­sians may be turned off by a sys­tem in which the Krem­lin wields near-to­tal power, which could raise ques­tions over le­git­i­macy.

“We can an­nounce al­ready with cer­tainty that the party se­cured a good re­sult, that it won,” Mr Putin said on state tele­vi­sion af­ter the vote.

“The sit­u­a­tion is tough but the peo­ple still voted for United Rus­sia.”

With 90 per­cent of the votes counted, the United Rus­sia party had 54.3 per­cent of votes, se­cur­ing at least 338 seats in the 450-mem­ber par­lia­ment, up from 238 pre­vi­ously.

It was fol­lowed by the Com­mu­nists and the ul­tra­na­tion­al­ist Lib­eral Demo­cratic Party, on 13.5pc and 13.3pc re­spec­tively, and A Just Rus­sia, which re­ceived 6.2pc.

Those four par­ties – which made up the last par­lia­ment and all back the Krem­lin – were the only ones to clear the 5pc thresh­old needed to claim a share of the one-half of seats up for grabs.

The vote comes as Putin’s ap­proval rat­ings re­main high at around 80pc and au­thor­i­ties ap­pear to be bank­ing on trou­ble-free pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in two years. –

Photo: AFP

Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin (right) and Prime Min­is­ter and chair of the United Rus­sia po­lit­i­cal party Dmitry Medvedev (sec­ond right) visit the party’s elec­tion cam­paign head­quar­ters in Moscow on Septem­ber 18.

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