It was “an unprecedented campaign in terms of the number of participants and public control”, Public Chamber member Anton Tvsetkov said.
He thinks the elections were fair and brought to the political scene new forward-looking governors, such as Andrei Bocharov in the southern Volgograd Region.
His colleague Georgy Fyodorov said no major irregularities during the elections had been registered and noted a high turnout in regions. “On the average, the turnout was quite high. Usually it’s lower,” he said.
Different political forces won elections in different regions. Vadim Potomsky of the Communist Party received almost 90% of votes in the Oryol Region, Central Russia.
However, the ruling United Russia led the polls in most regions. Fyodorov attributed this to “the high rating of President Vladimir Putin”.
Elections on September 14 took place in 84 of Russia’s 85 regions: 30 regions elected governors and 14 legislative assemblies.Central Electoral Commission Deputy Chairman Leonid Ivlev said earlier that 63 of 69 eligible political parties and 111,000 candidates took part in the elections.
Although these were regional elections, they had assumed truly federal dimensions and covered over 80 regions where people elected 30 governors, 680 regional parliament members, three mayors, and more than 41,000 municipal deputies. With 63 parties and 111 candidates competing, about 75 million people came to the polling stations.
A total of 207 candidates sought governorship in 30 regions but only 136 of them could pass the “municipal filter”. The candidates represented 24 parties.
Experts questioned by ITAR-TASS said unanimously that the incumbent leaders who had resigned ahead and most of whom had been nominated by the ruling United Russia party would have the best chances of success.
Coalition scenarios became quite commonplace in gubernatorial elections.
United Russia had decided against nominating gubernatorial candidates in the Kirov and Oryol regions and supported self-nominee Nikita Belykh and Communist Party candidate Vadim Potomsky.
The Duma lower house of parliament is now debating a draft law on elections which may allow parties to nominate candidates in one-man constituencies without collecting signatures if they have a faction in the Duma or regional legislatures.
High activity of voters was registered in Crimea which held its first elections after reunification with Russia in March of this year. Twelve parties had registered for the elections on the peninsula, where 75 parliament members were to be elected. Sevastopol was electing deputies to a 24-member city legislature.
According to Alexander Pozharov, deputy director of the Institute of Socioeconomic and Political Studies, main hopes in Crimea were pinned on candidates from United Russia, even though other parties were conducting active election campaigns as well.
United Russia scored 71% as 67% of the votes had been counted. The Liberal Democratic party won 8.1% while the remaining 10 parties failed to secure the qualifying minimum 5%.
Official results will be announced in several days but preliminary indicators confirmed political analysts' forecasts that the election would be “an indirect referendum on the domestic and foreign policy of the Russian leadership” amid the unsettled conflict in Ukraine.