Putin’s party wins election amongst fraud allegations

The United Russia party, which supports President Vladimir Putin, has won a constitutional majority in Russia’s state Parliament in an election marred by allegations of fraud.

The United Russia party has won an official 51% of the vote, significantly outperforming their predicted numbers in early polls. Their victory has been overshadowed by allegations of fraud. Prominent critics of Putin were banned from running in the election alongside reports of ballot stuffing and voter coercion. Russia’s electoral commission has rejected all claims of fraud.

United Russia now claims more than a two-thirds majority with 324 of the 450 available seats. United Russia now has a majority with which it can introduce policy with ease, including plans to change the Russian constitution.

The Communist party has placed second in the election with a 19.41% share of the vote, enjoying an increase of about 6% from the previous election. Although the Communist party typically supports Putin’s policies their party leader, Gennady Zyuganov, has levied accusations of voter fraud according to the Associated Press news agency.

Several candidates from the Communists joined together with democrats and independents to form a “coalition committee.” The group has demanded the overturning of e-voting results in Moscow, many of which are suspected to be fraudulent as online voting results changed the results of eight of Moscow’s 15 voting districts. Mikhail Lobanov, a Communist candidate who held a 10,000 vote lead before e-vote results came in has said: “The electric votes gave [opponent Evgeny] Popov a lead of 20,000 votes. I know that this result is impossible.” Zyuganov has said the Communist party rejects the results of Moscow’s election and he intends to call for an investigation into the e-voting results. There have also been plans for a Communist-sponsored rally in Moscow. Following threats from the state, the rally has been named a “meeting with parliamentarians” rather than a protest.

The election results have been condemned by other global powers including the EU, the US, and the UK. A spokesman from the UK Foreign Office said the election marked “a serious step back for democratic freedoms in Russia.” Ned Price, a spokesperson for the US Department of State said the election “took place under conditions not conducive to free and fair proceedings.” The White House is not acknowledging election results of votes held in Crimea.

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Aislinn Wright

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October 2021
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