Pro-Kremlin party looks set to retain majority in Russian parliament

20 September 2021, 12:54

Someone puts ballots into a box
Russia Election. Picture: PA

The poll is an important indicator of next year’s presidential poll, as Vladimir Putin seeks to cement his grip on power.

Russia’s ruling party is on course to retain the super majority needed to ensure President Vladimir Putin’s continued grip on power after parliamentary elections that most opposition politicians were barred from and that were marred by multiple reports of violations.

The vote has been watched closely as key to the run-up to the 2024 presidential election.

It is not yet clear whether Mr Putin will run again, choose a successor or outline a different path — but he is expected to keep his hand on the tiller whatever he decides, and an obedient State Duma, or parliament, is crucial to those plans.

Results from about 95% of the country’s polling stations gave the ruling United Russia party 49.64% of the vote for the 225 seats apportioned by parties, according to the Central Election Commission.

Another 225 legislators are chosen directly by voters, and the results on Monday morning showed United Russia candidates leading in 199 of those races.

Russian journalists
Russians have gone to the polls to elect legislators in the state duma (AP)

United Russia official Andrei Turchak suggested the party will get 315 out of the 450 seats — a result that would deliver more than two-thirds of the legislature’s seats.

The results indicated there would be almost no opposition voices in the Duma at all, with three other parties that usually toe the Kremlin line set to take many of the remaining seats, along with the New People party, which was formed last year and is regarded by many as a Kremlin-sponsored project.

Claims that the results had been manipulated mounted on Monday, when the results of online voting in Moscow were still not available to the public. The results in the other six regions that were allowed to vote online have been released.

In Moscow, approval of the ruling party has always been particularly low and protest voting has been widespread, and Kremlin critics were calling for protests later in the day.

The Kremlin sweep was widely expected since few opposition candidates were allowed to run this year after Russian authorities unleashed a sweeping crackdown on critics.

Organisations linked to imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny have been declared extremist, and anyone associated with them was barred from seeking public office by a new law.

Mr Navalny is serving two and a half-year prison sentence for violating parole over a previous conviction he says was politically motivated.

Other prominent opposition politicians faced prosecution or were forced to leave the country under pressure from the authorities.

Mr Navalny’s team still hoped to make dents in United Russia’s dominance with their Smart Voting strategy, which promoted candidates who had the best chance at defeating those backed by the Kremlin. However, a massive effort by authorities to suppress the strategy has been under way in recent weeks.

The government blocked the Smart Voting website and pressured Apple and Google to remove an app featuring it from their Russian online stores — a move the tech giants took as voting began on Friday.

Google also denied access to two documents on its online service Google Docs that listed candidates endorsed by Smart Voting, and YouTube blocked similar videos.

In addition, the founder of the Russian messaging app Telegram, Pavel Durov, on Saturday disabled a Smart Voting chatbot set up by allies of Mr Navalny.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

George W Bush pictured with Colin Powell in 2002

Bush and Blair lead tributes to Colin Powell after death aged 84

Earthshot 2021

Revealed: List of winners awarded £1million by Duke of Cambridge for Earthshot Prize 2021

Millionaire Robert Durst is believed to have killed three people.

Millionaire murderer on ventilator with Covid days after sentencing

Former PM Gordon Brown wants to send over a billion vaccines to low-income countries

Gordon Brown calls for emergency vaccine airlift to poorer nations

The US has "no idea" how the Chinese managed to make such progress on hypersonic missiles

China fires hypersonic missile around globe before striking target

A British Airways plane takes off as the resumption of UK – US flights was confirmed

UK – US flights to resume from 8 November after 19-month ban

Officers arrested the suspect after 30 minutes

Norway bow and arrow attack 'appears to be act of terror' as five killed

Police in Florida arrested the man on Tuesday

Man arrested after toddler found gun and shot mother dead during work Zoom call

Police officers cordon off the scene in Kongsberg

Five people killed after man goes on bow and arrow rampage in Norwegian town

Billy Hood has been jailed for 25 years

London football coach jailed for 25 years in Dubai over cannabis oil found in car

Blue Origin Launch.

Lift off! William Shatner soars into orbit on Blue Origin rocket

William Shatner take part in New Shepard spacecraft crew

Watch: William Shatner blasts off into space

Pen Farthing had staff and animals from his charity Nowzad evacuated from Afghanistan

Pen Farthing talks of 'total relief' as charity staff are flown into UK

Superman comes out as bisexual in DC's latest comic book.

Superman comes out as bisexual in DC's new comic book series

The northern flank of the volcano collapsed over the weekend, triggering new lava flows.

La Palma volcano partially collapses, spewing 'explosive bombs' of molten rock

Fuel stations and power plants in Lebanon have been forced to close.

Energy crisis: Warnings of blackouts in India and China and gas prices soar in Europe