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MOSCOW, September 13. /TASS/. Voting on Russia’s single voting days is over as the last polling stations closed in the westernmost Kaliningrad region at 21:00 Moscow time on Sunday.
Russian Prime Minister and leader of the ruling United Russia party Dmitry Medvedev highly assessed his party’s standing at Sunday’s elections across Russia.
"It was a big day and it is over now. Now we are summing up the results and I would like to say that, according to the data available at the moment, the United Russia results look rather satisfactory," Medvedev said at the party’s heafquarters. "I would even say, good results.".
"On the one hand, such results reflect United Russia’s actual influence in regions, voters’ preferences, but on the other hand, they show that Russian democracy is developing, proving that the parliamentary parties conduct their election campaign rather successfully," Medvedev said. "Elections were held at a high competitive level."
He said he was pleased with such state of things. "Because it is the guarantee of our country’s development and the indicators of the state of our political system," he added.
On Sunday, elections of various levels were held in 84 Russian regions (except the North Caucasian Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria). Eleven regions elected their legislatures, and 21 regions had direct elections of their governor. Governor of North Ossetia and in the Khanty-Mansi autonomous area were elected by regional parliaments. In all, a total of 10,700 elections of various levels were held across Russia. Ten regions had more than 70 local referendums.
According to the Russian Central Election Commission, elections involved 27 political parties, which nominated 142 candidates for regional governors, of whom 98 were registered. "In average 4.5 candidates vied for one seat," deputy chairman of the Russian Central elections Commission Leonid Ivlev said.
At total of 461 seats in regional legislatures were contended by 5,450 candidates nominated by 20 political parties and self-nominees. As many as 230 seats were contended in one-seat constituencies. "Whereas in majority constituencies, about five candidates vied for one seat, the competition by party tickets was still tougher - about 20 contenders for one seat," Ivlev said, adding that the biggest number of parties - 16 - taking part in the elections was registered at elections to the Kostroma Region Duma (parliament). The toughest competition was in the Kaluga region.
Vote counting is underway in the majority of regions but the situation is clear in a number of regions. Thus, elections of governors in Russia’s far eastern regions yielded no surprises. All of them can be announced valid in one round with acting governors winning the elections. Acting governor of the Tyumen region Aman Tuleyev is promising to demonstrate a record level of support, with 97% of votes after counting 35% of ballots.
Some intrigue can be expected only from the elections of the Irkutsk region governor, where after counting of 70% of votes the gap between the incumbent governor, Sergei Yeroshchenko, and his rival from the Communist Party, Sergei Levchenko, was about eight percent. If neither of them score 50% of the vote, a runoff election will be appointed.
According to the Central Election Commission data, the ruling United Russia party is leading elections to local legislatures. Thus, after counting 4.6% of votes in the Kurgan region, United Russia is scoring 58% of votes, in the Magadan region it is winning about 60% of the vote after counting 32% of protocols. A similar situation is reported fro other regions.
Regions have demonstrated uneven turnout prompting campaign participants and experts at contradictory conclusions.
Thus, the Kemerovo region demonstrated a record turnover of 83.51%, the biggest one for it since 2001, whereas in Smolensk region in central European Russia turnover was about 25% some two hours before the end of voting.
"September is the wrong month to hold elections, and the turnout proves it," Igor Lebedev, a deputy speaker of the Russian State Duma lower parliament house and an LDPR leader, told TASS. "We have just learnt results - the voter turnout in the majority of regions does not exceed 20-30% Of course, it is a poor result."
Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov also noted lower turnout and said that it might be bigger should the elections be organized in late October or early November.
The Central Election Commission however said the turnout at gubernatorial elections was rather good, at least better than at the previous elections on the single voting day.
These elections were the last ones before the elections to the Russian State Duma due in September 2016. No wonder, they were seen as a general rehearsal of the federal election campaign.