Today is the deadline for candidates contesting the September elections to Russia’s State Duma to register their candidacy with the
Today is the deadline for candidates contesting the September elections to Russia’s State Duma to register their candidacy with the Central Election Commission (CEC).
Independent candidates and parties operating below the minimum three percent support threshold must submit registration petitions for CEC approval. Last month, Russia adopted new laws disqualifying candidates linked to government-designated extremist organizations, including opposition activist Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, from contesting elections.
The laws’ critics contend that the legislation will help United Russia, the pro-Putin ruling party, retain its absolute majority ahead of the election. Once broadly popular, polling indicates that the party’s support has fallen to 27 percent amidst pensioner protests and energy sector shortfalls.
The CEC is expected to reject most petitions from independent candidates and minor opposition parties, as United Russia continues to exert influence over election protocol. The party—which benefits from association with Putin, who remains relatively popular—will likely retain its parliamentary majority. Yet increasing cooperation amongst Russia’s historically divided opposition and United Russia’s declining popularity suggest that an absolute majority is improbable. As such, in the medium-term, expect United Russia to extend superficial overtures, including expanded social services for pensioners, to other pro-Putin parties to continue enacting its priorities.
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