Vladimir Putin’s party retains majority in Russian Parliamentary Elections
Most of the prominent opposition leaders were barred from participating in the election. All organisations linked to jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny were declared extremist and banned from participating in the election.
Russian Elections 2021: Vladimir Putin's ruling United Russia party has retained its majority in the Russian parliament after a three-day election that was plagued with allegations of poll violations after most of the opposition politicians were barred from running.
With most of the ballots counted, the Russian Election Commission announced that the United Russia Party had won nearly 50% of the vote, retaining an almost two-thirds majority in the lower house of parliament.
Though the party retained its majority in the parliament, it lost one-fifth of its support in comparison to the 2016 parliamentary election when it had won over 54 percent of the votes.
The elections were closely watched as they will be key to the runup to the 2024 presidential election. As per local polls, Putin still remains a popular figure in Russia with many citizens crediting him for standing up to the West and restoring national pride.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been in power in Russia as President or Prime Minister since 1999. While it is not clear whether he plans to run again in the 2024 presidential elections or choose a successor or outline a different path but a majority in Duma, the Russian Parliament will surely give him and his party an upper hand.
Russian Parliamentary Election Results: Key Highlights
•According to Central Election Commission, the United Russia candidates were leading in about 199 seats. United Russia's Andrei Turchak on the other hand said that the party had taken 120 seats from the party list and 195 single-mandate seats, which takes its total to 315 seats from overall 450 seats. He claimed that it was a "convincing and clean victory".
•If the party secures a win in 315 seats, it would give them more than two-thirds of the legislature’s seats.
•The results indicate almost no opposition voice in the Russian Parliament. The closest rival was the Communist Party, which won about 20 percent of the votes. The party along with two others including the New People party, which was formed last year, is expected to take up many of the remaining seats.
•Most of the prominent opposition leaders were barred from participating in the election. They either faced prosecution or were forced to leave the country under pressure from the authorities.
•The imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny and organisations linked to him were declared extremist and banned from participating in the election. In fact, anyone associated with them has been barred from seeking public office by a new law.
Who is Alexei Navalny?
Alexei Navalny is a Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption activist, who was arrested at a Russian airport in January 2021 upon his return from Germany, where he had been receiving treatment after being poisoned allegedly by the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok in Siberia last summer.
Navalny is the leader of the Russia of the Future party and founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK). He had launched his presidential campaign in December 2016 to contest in the 2018 Russian presidential election but he was barred by Russia's Central Electoral Commission (CEC) due to his prior criminal conviction. The CEC declared that he would not be eligible to run for president until after 2028.
He was hospitalized in serious condition in August 2020 after being poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent. He had to be medically evacuated to Berlin, he accused Putin of being responsible for his poisoning.
The European Union, United Kingdom and the United States had responded to the development by imposing sanctions on senior Russian officials.
He was detained when he returned to Russia on January 17, 2021 on accusations of violating parole conditions. He is required to now spend over two and half years in prison. Amnesty International has recognised him as a prisoner of conscience.