Russia election: Russia’s ruling party poised to retain majority in parliamentary elections amid allegations of voter fraud


Voting concluded late Sunday in Russia, after people across the country cast votes for members of the State Duma — the lower house of the Russian Parliament — and several regional and municipal heads.

An exit poll conducted by INSOMAR and cited by RIA Novosti predicted United Russia, which backs President Vladimir Putin, would win 45.2% of the overall vote. If that is reflected in the official results, United Russia could be facing a weaker result than at the previous parliamentary election in 2016, when the party won more than 54% of the vote.

With 95.06% of the ballots counted at the time of writing, Russia’s Central Election Commission said United Russia had so far gained 49.63%, RIA Novosti reported. Early results also showed the Communist Party trailing in second with 19.2%, followed by the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia and the Fair Russia party with just over 7% each (7.48% and 7.43% respectively). All three parties typically support the Kremlin on key issues.

Opposition members and independent observers have raised concerns over instances of voter fraud in the three-day parliamentary elections. On Sunday, election officials said they had annulled some votes.

The head of Russia’s Central Election Commission, Ella Pamfilova, pushed back on what she described as “hype,” saying officials had counted a total of 12 cases of ballot stuffing in the whole country, across 8 districts.

But videos shared widely on social media indicate that the problem was more widespread. Some appeared to show people voting at multiple polling stations; others purported to show officials and voters shoving multiple ballots into boxes. One CCTV clip showed a woman awkwardly trying to shield a ballot box as a hand appeared from behind a Russian flag, repeatedly stuffing papers inside.

The election has also been criticized by members of the country’s political opposition who allege Russian authorities interfered in their candidacy, claims Pamfilova has also dismissed, saying the elections represent the country’s “entire political and social spectrum.”
A once-significant presence in Russia’s political landscape was missing this year, however. In April, Russian authorities outlawed the political movement of prominent Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny, labeling it “extremist,” forcing it to shut down and rendering its members ineligible to run in the elections.
Navalny himself was imprisoned earlier this year after a Moscow court ruled he had violated parole conditions in a 2014 case.
Earlier this month, Liberal Yabloko party candidate Boris Vishnevsky said two opponents running against him in St. Petersburg had adopted his name and mimicked his appearance in an effort to confuse voters.
In July, Kommersant newspaper found more than 20 pairs of nominees with similar or identical surnames among the candidates standing for election. Election Commission head Pamfilova said they did not have the legal means to dismiss the candidates, but called the nomination of doubles by some parties “a dirty technology aimed at deceiving and misleading voters,” according to TASS.

Source : Nbcnewyork