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Elections in Russia: the country rapidly moves to the left

December 06, 2011, 12:58 UTC+3
After the parliamentary elections of 2011 the political map of Russia turned out to be painted in different colours
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MOSCOW, December 6 (Itar-Tass) —— After the parliamentary elections of 2011 the political map of Russia turned out to be painted in different colours. New priorities and preferences of Russian nationals, which they expressed at the polling stations, are far more important. They happened to have been changed radically in many respects during the past four years.

The authority of the ruling party, which dominated the main legislative body of the country, using its constitutional majority, was suddenly reduced, The Novye Izvestia writes. Its dramatic slide from the previous position (65 per cent of the votes) to the present level of “less than half of the votes” is certainly the main sensation of the Duma elections. The reduction of the number of votes by 15 per cent looks somewhat abstract. In real terms the figure means that the number of supporters of the United Russia Party (UR) was reduced by 15 million. If we wish to establish the absolute level of the support for the policy pursued by UR, we shall see that out of 110 million Russians who have the right of vote, only some 25 per cent trust UR.

While the electors of Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, the Karachay-Cherkessia Republic and Mordovia still vote unanimously for UR, like in the Soviet times, the results of the voting in Karelia, the Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, Sverdlovsk and Yaroslavl Regions were catastrophic for the ruling party: the number of its supporters there was reduced by half and amounted to 29 to 32 per cent. At the same time, the opposition parties got more votes at the expense of the votes lost by UR, and now one could say that the “red belt” was extended to the Asian part of Russia. The Communist Party got some 25 per cent of the votes in Siberia and the Far East. In the competition between the Liberal Democratic Party and the Just Russia Party (JR), JR, led by Sergey Mironov, sensationally outdid its rival. So, it is obvious that the electorate has moved to the left.

Rostislav Turovsky, vice president of the Centre of Political Technologies, whose words are quoted by The Nezavisimaya Gazeta, believes that the format of Russia’s party system may be changed, because “UR in its present form is not fulfilling the tasks, set before it.” He is sure that the present slump is not an accidental episode and that “the recession has been going on for several years.” Since UR cannot get back the constitutional majority, Turovsky believes it might merge with JR.

The electoral campaign of JR was most effective, The Moskovskaya Pravda writes. The results of the public opinion polls, conducted last summer, showed that they would not qualify for the Duma, while a week before the elections public opinion polls predicted that they would get from nine to twelve per cent of the votes, or even 19 to 20 in big cities.

JR confirmed its image of a party of professionals, the newspaper believes. Its programme was concrete, and participants in debates sounded convincing. This helped JR to attract to its side a major part of the middle class and intellectuals. JR used its chance to the full. It not only mobilized the disillusioned pensioners, but also managed to gain the support of a large part of the liberally-minded electorate. The result of JR in big cities was the same as the right-wing parties showed in their best times.







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