United Russia, President Vladimir Putin’s party, may have won fewer votes than five years ago, but it is still heading for a two-thirds majority in the Russian parliament.
At least 5,000 cases of fraud in the parliamentary elections have been reported across Russia. “Whether there will be protests or investigations remains to be seen,” said Jan Balliauw in Russia.
United Russia once again hoped to secure a two-thirds majority in the Duma, the Russian parliament. After all, that will enable President Vladimir Putin’s party to amend the constitution without hindrance, which it already did last year.
The electoral commission said the pro-Kremlin party might not win enough seats for a two-thirds majority in the first hours after polls closed last night.
But in the meantime, with the most votes counted, that turns out to be the case after all. United Russia may have received fewer votes than in the previous parliamentary elections five years ago, but almost 50 percent. That seems to be enough for a two-thirds majority of the seats in parliament.
“A fair and clean victory,” United Russia’s Andrei Turchak said last night. But more than 5,000 reports of fraud have been received across Russia. According to the opposition, electronic voting has also been used for fraud, which is why the last votes from Moscow are still unknown.
The opposition is talking about elections that have been “dirtier” than those in 2011, which then sparked a wave of protests against fraud. But it is less likely that it will come to that again because the opposition has had a lot of trouble getting involved.
Alexei Navalny, one of Putin’s main opponents, is in prison, while his movement has been labelled “extremist”, and its supporters have gone into hiding or emigrating. The work of independent media has also become much more complicated in recent years.
All this made it much more difficult for the opposition to make a mark in the run-up to the elections.