Does Putin really want a 2-party Duma?
With just a couple of weeks to go until Russia’s parliamentary elections on 2nd December, it’s looking increasingly as though United Russia are set for a massive victory.
However, depressingly, only two of the ‘major’ parties are likely to scrape together the seven percent of votes needed to gain any seats in the Duma – United Russia, and Communist Party of the Russian Federation. Based on a Lenta poll, the next Russian Duma will look something like this:
If the pollsters are correct, United Russia will have 371 Duma seats, the Communist Party a mere 79.
On the face of it, great news for United Russia. Only one opponent to worry about, and majority of substantially more than two-thirds. But it appears as though the Kremlin is beginning to worry athat United Russia may actually be too dominant…
Media coverage of other parties seems to be increasing (albiet only slightly) and there are some early indications that a couple of the other parties – most likely the loony LDPR and the slightly dull Just Russia – might just manage to scrape together enough votes to clamber over the magical 7% mark.
Well, some would say it’s because a Duma dominated by only one party just wouldn’t look good – either at home or abroad. Putin’s image is at stake.
But I prefer this explanation from Argumenty Nedeli:
Rumor has it that the CPRF might arrange a political scandal with a demostrative walkout from the Duma. That would leave the Duma unable to function, since the law requires the Russian parliament to have at least two parties.
Translation by Elena Leonova for Johnson’s Russia List 2007 #239
Not that would put a dent in Putin’s image. Can you imagine how embarrassing it would be for Putin if he was forced to run another election just because he was too damn popular…
(Note: The figures used to construct these graphs came from a Levada poll carried out last week. The levada.ru website is currently down, though, so I’ve used a link to a news story for the time being).