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Experts: Political competition grows at regional elections in Russia

August 03, 2013, 21:23 UTC+3

This year all parliamentary parties collected signatures from municipal candidates and went through the so-called municipal filter

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Photo ITAR-TASS / Alexander Rumin

Photo ITAR-TASS / Alexander Rumin

MOSCOW, August 3 (Itar-Tass) - The registration of candidates proved that the parliamentary and non-parliamentary parties showed more interest in regional elections. Experts told Itar-Tass that natural political processes are evident: the completion grows, minority players appear and different coalition mechanisms are used.

Director-General of the Centre for Political Information Alexei Mukhin stated that political forces showed more interest in regional elections. “The number of their participants increases - both candidates and the parties, which take part in the election campaign,” the expert noted. In his words, if earlier, 21 candidates from nine parties took part in the previous elections, the current gubernatorial campaign involved 40 candidates from 12 parties. “Such interest in regional elections stands high,” Mukhin said.

At the same time, the political scientist notes that this year all parliamentary parties collected signatures from municipal candidates and went through the so-called municipal filter. “This proves that the political parties agreed with this model of elections despite their protest,” he said.

Director of the Centre for Applied Research Programmes Alexander Tochenov said the municipal filter functioned. “But it is necessary to work with it. Maybe, there is sense to treat municipal deputies like as citizens, who give their signatures for the right to nominate any candidate. A deputy can also put any amount of signatures. But it is necessary to check them thoroughly,” the expert said.

However, political scientists note the increasing growth of non-parliamentary elections. Mukhin said last year there had been seven candidates from five non-parliamentary elections while this year there had been 11 candidates from eight parties. “Qualitative changes were not made. Meanwhile, the non-parliamentary parties are a new project that is why it is more difficult for them to go through the municipal filter and other particularities of the election campaign,” Mukhin said.

He believes that next year the number of the non-parliamentary parties would increase many times.

Political scientists note one more tendency of the election campaign - different political forces seek to unify. Tochenov said: “A certain image of blocs or alliances emerges.” “In Trans-Baikal one of the candidates, who represent the A Just Russia party, backs the United Russia party. In the Vladimir region the situation is vice versa: a nominee from United Russia backs a candidate from the A Just Russia party,” the political scientist said.

Director-General of the Agency for Political and Economic Communication Dmitry Orlov said the power was guided by legitimacy and high competition at these elections. “There are more competitors. Certain candidates were not removed. Moreover, municipal filters helped involve minority players in the elections, for example Moscow and the Moscow region,” he stressed.

Orlov noted that the nomination of bright opposition members, Alexei Navalny, Yevgeny Urlashov and Yevgeny Roizman, was one of the particularities of the election campaign. “Their nomination threatens the power neither in Moscow, Yaroslavl nor Yekaterinburg,” the expert said.

According to the Central Election Commission, 40 candidates were registered for the region’s position in Khakasia, Trans-Baikal, Khabarovsk Territory, the Vladimir, Magadan and Moscow regions, Moscow and Chukotka Autonomous Area. The Communist Party and the LDPR nominated their candidates at eight regions while the A Just Russia party will run in seven Russian regions and United Russia in six regions.

On the single voting day, September 8, over 70 Russian regions will take part in the different-level elections. In ten region gubernatorial elections will take place while deputies of the Dagestani and Ingush parliaments will elect officials. In addition, deputies of legislative assemblies will be elected in 16 Russian regions.

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