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United Russia's primaries create new political reality — analyst

May 23, 2016, 15:22 UTC+3 MOSCOW

A Russian political analyst says it looks like the dominance of the behind-the-scenes approach is coming to an end, as the ruling United Russia party organaized primaries

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© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

MOSCOW, May 23. /TASS/. The advance voting, the so-called primaries, organized on Sunday by the ruling United Russia party to select candidates for elections to the 450-seat State Duma lower house of parliament creates a new political reality in the country, a Russian political analyst said on Monday.

"It looks like the dominance of the behind-the-scenes approach is coming to an end in the present-day Russian politics," Alexei Zudin, a member of the expert council of the Institute of Socio-economic and Political Studies, said at a news conference at TASS.

He said the former behind-the-scenes politics is gradually giving way to its opposite, i.e. openness and publicity when "authority and respect are won over in an open, public and competitive space rather than in scarce closed environments."

In his words, the mere procedure of advance voting creates a "new political reality" in the country. "From now on, the results and the practice of primaries, which have set a new standard of requirements, will prompt other parties and United Russia as well to comply with these new requirements," Zudin said.

United Russia held advance voting, the so-called primaries, across Russia on Sunday to select its nominees for candidates running for parliamentary seats at the forthcoming elections. Participation in such primaries is mandatory for its candidates. More than 2,780 candidates took part in the polls. According to the latest updates, more than ten million voters took part in the voting. The turnout was about 9.5%

The voting results will be materialized in a list of the party candidates to run for parliament seat in one-seat constituencies and regional party tickets of the most popular candidates. The lists will be endorsed at a party congress in June. Preliminary results of the polls will be announced by May 27.

Elections to the 450-seat Russian State Duma will be held on September 18 under a mixed system: 225 lawmakers will be elected in one-seat constituencies and another 225 will be elected by party tickets.

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