United Russia, Putin Suffer Stinging Setback In Moscow Poll

Cheryl Sanders
September 11, 2019

Candidates supported by the ruling United Russia party and mayor Sergei Sobyanin kept a narrow majority of 25 seats but lost several embarrassing district races even though liberal opposition candidates were barred from Sunday's vote.

The party lost almost a third of the seats in the 45-member parliament, but remains on course to retain its majority with about 26 seats.

The Communist Party won 13 seats.

Lyubov Sobol, who emerged as a protest leader after she was blocked from running in the election, said the vote would go "down in history thanks to the courage and perseverance of Muscovites, and the cowardice and meanness" of the city administration.

"We shouldn't forget that these were not real elections - a lot of genuine (opposition) candidates who would have won were not allowed to run", she tweeted.

All of the 20 candidates, although often nominally opposing the authorities, were endorsed by Mr Navalny's Smart Voting strategy, which called on voters to cast their ballots to oust the candidates of Mr Putin's United Russia party.

Russian president Vladimir Putin at a polling station throughout the Moscow metropolis Duma elections.

Vitali Shkliarov, a Russian political analyst, said Sunday was the first time legitimate opposition candidates were elected to the City Duma since the early 1990s.

In a sign that United Russia is losing ground in Moscow, the party did not officially nominate a single candidate for the council, and all of its members or candidates affiliated with the party ran as independents, playing down their ties to the party.

Communist, impartial and liberal candidates achieved vital good points in opposition to these allied with United Russia, bringing extra political range to the meeting. He claimed that this strategy, called "smart voting", would help outplay the ruling party in their constituencies. Moscow's city council has relatively little power and its election does not usually garner this much attention.

In Moscow, to be fair, United Russia still won just over half the vote. In some places, it got more seats, in others fewer. "It could possibly have gotten extra seats at some locations and less at some others, but on the total, the occasion showed its political management nationwide", Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, instructed journalists on Monday.

However, the elections weren't all bad news for Putin.

Some United Russia critics grumbled that Navalny's tactics worry up persuading voters to make stronger some candidates who practically always vote the identical scheme as United Russia. The march, like many, had not been authorized to take place, a legal requirement in Russian Federation in recent years.

In the country's second-largest city, St. Petersburg, acting governor Aleksandr Beglov had more than 64 percent of the vote with more than 90 percent of ballots counted.

Moscow authorities made a decision to ban opposition candidates from running in the election in the summer, for dubious reasons including claims that some had petitioned to run using signatures of people who didn't exist or had died.

According to Andrei Turchak, the United Russia has received over 60% of mandates in Russian regional legislative bodies without taking into account the self-nominees that may join the United Russia parliamentary fractions later.

Thousands were briefly detained in the protests, culminating in an estimated 50,000 attending a Moscow rally on August 10.

Other reports by iNewsToday