RUSSIAN FEDERATION 2011: PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS

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On the 4th of December 2011 the parliamentary elections will take place, the presidential elections are to be held on 4th March 2012. Due to a constitutional amendment in 2008, the presidential term increased from four to six years, and the State Duma’s term from four to five years. In line with this new legislation the upcoming elections will be probably the last regular, national elections in Russia until 2016.

European Exchange and the Russian election monitoring organisation GOLOS are launching regular coverage of the election campaign. In the coming three months, election monitoring reports by GOLOS and expert’s opinions will be published fortnightly as a special category of the Russland Analysen (Russia Analyses), the Russian Analytical Digest and distributed via this online newsletter to an interested public. The coverage is supported by the German Association for East European Studies DGO and the Heinrich Boell Foundation.

Since 1st September 2011, GOLOS has already been carrying out long-term observation of all stages of the election process in 48 regions of the Russian Federation. This will run from the registration of the parties and their candidates, cover the entire election campaign period and extend right through to the voting and vote-counting processes. During the election campaign, a media centre founded by GOLOS will monitor and evaluate campaigning in the media. Additionally, on election day over 2500 short-term election observers will look to follow the voting and vote-counting processes in the election precincts.

 

Index

 

Report: FINAL REPORT on the elections to the State Duma

Report: An Evaluation of the Elections to the State Duma, by Arkadiy Lyubarev, Moscow

Third Statement: On the results of the elections of deputies for the State Duma

Mediaanalysis: The Janus-faced Russian leadership

Report 6: Indirect election campaigning in Russia - a fundamental tactic of the "party in the power", by Alexander Kynev, Moscow

Second Statement: The Election Campaign (26.10. - 30.11.2011)

Report 5: The role of the election commissions at the elections in Russia, by Alexander Kynev, Moscow

Report 4: The structure of the party lists at the 2011 Duma Elections, by Arkadiy Lyubarev, Moscow

First Statement: Nomination and registration of the party lists (30.08.-25.10.2011)

Report 3: Distinctive Features and Limits of the Russian Party System, by Alexander Kynev, Moscow

Report 2: Russian Legislation on Elections to the State Duma, by Arkadij Ljubarew, Moscow

Report 1: Why even have elections?, by Jens Siegert, Moscow

 

 

FINAL REPORT on the Elections to the State Duma

The election of deputies to the State Duma was neither free nor fair, nor did it meet the demands of the Russian electoral code and international electoral standards. The fundamental principles of elections were not adhered to, namely true competition and the equal rights of all sides involved, a neutral administration, independent election commissions, a vote conforming to the law and a correct vote-counting process. All phases of the election period were marked by a range of violations against the electoral code, which were designed to distort the will of the electorate and thereby remove the possibility of an appropriate representation of citizens’ interests in the most senior legislative organ of the country.

 

For the full report please see here

For the full analysis of the conduct of the campaign please see here

An Evaluation of the Results of the Duma Elections

by Arkadiy Lyubarev, Moscow

Abstract

The Duma elections were first and foremost a contest between the state executive, which made use of all administrative resources, and various societal groups forming the opposition. Ultimately, United Russia was able to win a majority, but the number of protest votes nevertheless increased significantly. Considerable variation in the results could be observed from region to region and even within individual regions. This can partly be attributed to the varying level of falsification in different areas. Overall, by falsifying the result of the vote, it is probable that United Russia was given 15 million extra votes, so that the true result for the party can be seen to stand at around 34% and not 49%.

For the full article see here

Third Statement: On the Results of the Elections of Deputies for the State Duma

Association GOLOS

This statement is the third in a series of reports which will examine the course of the election campaign.

Read the statement here.

Mediaanalysis: The Janus-faced Russian Leadership

Please read the full article here.

Indirect Election Campaigning in Russia – a fundamental Tactic of the “Party in Power"

By Alexander Kynev, Moscow

Abstract

A preliminary assessment of the election campaign so far shows that the so-called “party in power” is drawing enormously on administrative resources. Administrations of the federal subjects, cities and districts have been practically transformed into election campaign offices for “United Russia” (UR), while their leaders blatantly campaign for UR. “United Russia” takes credit for achievements of national and regional governments, and of the work of local and other service providers who are financed by the state budget. It is a fundamental election campaign tool of the “party in power” to carry out election campaigning on a huge scale by accentuating a “professional activity” of the candidates (the President, the Prime Minister, the Governors etc.) Similarly, indirect election campaigning takes place on a massive scale in the form of social campaigns and other advertising, which both stylistically and in meaning make connections to the “United Russia” election campaign, as well as campaign advertising for “United Russia” via activities and advertisements by the so-called All-Russia People’s Front. Particularly outrageous, however, is the fact that the agitation of the election commissions calling to vote is stylistically close enough to be confused with the campaign advertising of “United Russia” and, in turn, that the materials of “United Russia” copy those of the election commissions.

Please read the full article here.

Second Statement: The Election Campaign

Association GOLOS

This statement is the second in a series of reports which will examine the course of the election campaign. It covers the time period from 26th October up until 30th November 2011.

Read the statement here.

 

The Role of the Election Commissions at the Elections in Russia

By Alexander Kynev, Moscow

Summary

The Russian election commissions are organised in a strictly hierarchical manner and are firmly under the control of the political leadership of the country. In light of the upcoming Duma elections, the following article gives an overview of the corresponding legal framework and the functionality of the election commissions.

Please read the full article here.

The Structure of the Party Lists at the 2011 Duma Elections

By Arkadiy Lyubarev, Moscow

Summary

Proportional representation is used at the Duma elections, which means that the parties nominate one electoral list for the entire country and receive deputy seats in parliament corresponding to their share of the votes cast. The following article presents the regulations governing the candidate lists and analyses the structure of the candidate lists for the upcoming Duma elections.

Please read the full article here.

First Statement: Nomination and Registration of the Party Lists

Association GOLOS

This statement is the first in a series of reports which will examine the course of the election campaign. It covers the time period from 30th August up until 25th October 2011.

Read the statement here.

Distinctive Features and Limits of the Russian Party System

Alexander Kynev, Moscow

Abstract

Russia lacks a sustainable and stable party system: no parties, in the traditional, western meaning of the term, exist in Russia at all. The absence of fully-fledged parliamentary institutions and the lack of separation of powers mean that parties cannot exist and operate in the normal fashion. Russia’s political parties are weak, and their interior ideological identity is highly questionable, but they do represent definite social networks that have core electorates characterized by differing degrees of cohesion, numerical strength, and long-term stability. The current party system occurred as a result of the extensive reform of the party law and the electoral code under Vladimir Putin. Its dominant element is the control by the government. The executive authority has de facto secured an exclusive right to decide who will be permitted to run in elections to representative bodies – and who will not. Hence the parties are de facto “under the thumb” of the state bureaucracy. In practice, however, there are strong contradictions among local interest groups in the center and in the regions. Hence if the general political or economic situation in the country were to alter, the apparently managed party system might be seen to undergo very rapid change.

Please read the full article here.

Russian Legislation on Elections to the State Duma

Arkadiy Lyubarev, Moscow

Abstract

The Russian authorities have made a number of changes in the country’s electoral legislation since the first State Duma elections in 1993. The key features of the current system have been in place since 2007. This article describes the most salient features of the law.

Please read the full article here.

Why even have Elections?

Jens Siegert, Moscow

Abstract

The results of the Duma elections at the start of December have been largely decided already. The necessary manipulations serving the “party in power” have already taken place. Nevertheless, more than 50 percent of those eligible will cast their vote. But that is not a sign of any choice; it is far more a confirmation of the old social contract between the majority of the people and those in power: We keep out of politics and you take care of us and keep out of our private lives. Only a minority will try to register a protest - either by boycotting the elections or by voting for opposition parties.

Please read the full article here.