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Russia sums up Sunday’s local election results

September 14, 2015, 8:38 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Communist Party has regained the status of the main opposition force in Russia

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© Artyom Geodakyan/TASS
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© Sergey Medvedev/TASS
© Vladimir Smirnov/TASS
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MOSCOW, September 14. /TASS/. Russia is summarizing Sunday’s single voting day results that will test the mood of the country’s electorate before the September 2016 polls to the lower house of parliament, the State Duma.

Voters cast ballots on Sunday in a total of 84 Russian regions (except for the North Caucasian Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria) at elections of various levels. Eleven regions elected their legislatures, and 21 regions had direct elections of their governors.

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.

A litmus test for parties

Konstantin Kostin, who heads Russia’s Foundation for Civil Society Development, said the parliamentary parties’ performance on Sunday was rather confident.

"It is evident that the United Russia is winning the elections, but it is also clear that one of the results of these polls is that the Communist Party is regaining the [status] of the main opposition force," Kostin said.

Besides, A Just Russia Party has also shown good results, the expert said.

The main intrigue at the elections is the situation on the liberal flank. According to the latest preliminary results, the right-wing parties have not overcome the 5-percent threshold at the elections to regional legislatures.

The Parnas party, which only took part in the elections to the regional Duma in Kostroma, in central European Russia, has gained just 2% Another liberal party Yabloko is also showing unconfident results.

Parties evaluate election results

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, the leader of the ruling United Russia party, has highly assessed his party’s standing at Sunday’s elections across Russia. "I would even say, good results," Medvedev said at the party’s headquarters.

"On the one hand, such results reflect the 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."

The leader of A Just Russia Party, Sergey Mironov, said citing the preliminary results and independent exit polls that the party has overcome threshold in all 11 federal subjects where elections to the legislatures were held.

"The party is strong, it was confident before these elections and will be confident at the elections to the State Duma in 2016," Mironov said. "After the results of the single voting day of September 2015 no one should doubt that our party will be in the State Duma of the 7th convocation," he said.

The first deputy chairman of the Communist Party’s central committee, Ivan Melnikov said the elections have shown that "the rivalry between the United Russia party and the Communist Party is ongoing." "The Communist Party remains the main competitive party," he said.

The leader of the Liberal-Democratic Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, said in general the election campaign was "calm."

Voter turnout

According to the Central Election Commission, the highest turnout was recorded in the Kemerovo region in Siberia (83.51%) and the Volga republic of Tatarstan (57.76%).

The lowest turnout was seen in the Smolensk region, in central European Russia (18.57%) and the Arkhangelsk region in northern Russia (13.92%).

Campaign does not end

Although the key outcome of elections is clear, the campaign itself does not end on Sunday. "There is still time to sum up the results, to challenge the outcome and hand over financial reports," Vladimir Churov, who heads the Central Election Commission, said.

"The election campaign will end at least in two weeks," he said.

Vice President at Center for Strategic Communications Dmitry Abzalov said: "In fact, this campaign will open the election campaign of 2016.".

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