United Russia expected to win across the board today
Russia is going to the polls today to elect all 450 members of the lower house of parliament or State Duma, 39 of the 85 regional parliaments, 7 of the 85 governors/presidents of regions and 5,000 municipal councils including in 11 regional capitals with a total of 38,000 seats up for grabs.
Across the country there are 103,000 candidates standing at all levels with 32 candidates standing for the seven regional heads posts. There are around 111 million voters taking part across 95,836 polling stations. Voting will also take place in the disputed Ukrainian territory of Crimea.
There are 75 registered parties with 14 standing in the State Duma election with half the seats (225) being elected in first past the post single member constituencies and half (225) in party lists. There is a 5% threshold to get into parliament.
There is voting abroad with 371 polling stations in diplomatic missions for the 1,872,390 registered voters overseas.
However, the election is pretty much a foregone conclusion with President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia expected to take most seats with a limited number of quasi-opposition parties winning some seats to give an air of respectability.
In the 2011 general election United Russia, the ruling party, won with 49.32% of the vote, taking 238 seats (53%) of the seats in the State Duma. The rules have been changed since that election and it should be much easier for United Russia to increase its majority this year. The other parties which won seats were the far-left Communist Party (KPRF) with 92 seats, the centre-left A Just Russia with 64 seats and the far-right Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) with 56 seats.
Before the highly respected Levada Centre was stopped from publishing polls United Russia was down to about 31% support and falling. In other polls 39% of Russians thought voting was useless and 31% said they didn’t trust politicians. Around 22% believe that local and regional electoral commissions will manipulate the vote and 13% believe that authorities would bribe voters.