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MMP Russian Style - A Right Wing Landslide

Russia’s voting system for the election of its Duma (Parliament) is roughly the same as New Zealand’s. Consequently the graph on the following link is likely to make sense to New Zealand voters, even if it doesn't to many of those elsewhere.

As it was on election night here in New Zealand, the critical thing to watch is the Party Vote and the 5% threshold which it is necessary to rise above to gain representation. As in New Zealand, in Russia all the vote under the 5% is discarded. And from what Scoop can see there is no second chance, win an electorate seat and your vote gets counted trick, in the Russian system.

See… http://www.russiatoday.com/election2000/results.php3 for an updating graph of the party vote share.

At 2pm NZT the result was showing a stunning 26.6% lead in the polls by the Unity grouping led by Emergency Situations Minister and staunch ally of Presidential hopeful Vladimir Putin, Sergei Shoigu. In second place are the Communists on 25.22%.

The final result is expected to be announced at 7am GMT (8pm tonight NZT).

So far the voting from the Far Eastern areas has been the first to be counted and an initial 30% showing for the pro-reform, pro-war, Unity grouping has been pared back from 30% to its present levels.

Another Putin aligned party, Union of Right Forces, is presently on 8.21% and the extremely right wing (fascist) bloc of Zhirinovsky is polling 7.4%.

In the ‘opposition’ - it is not quite that simple but essentially that is what they might be seen as - the Communists are backed up by Yevgeny Primakov's Fatherland group on 7.61% and the ‘liberal reformist’ Yabloko group on 5.81%. Both Fatherland and Yabloko are far cooler on the War in Chechnya than the parties arrayed behind Putin.

The rest of the vote - 19.2% recently - is held by parties under the threshold and will not count towards determine the final numbers in the Duma.

Doing the equations the balance at present in the Duma elections is:

Right: Vladimir Putin Aligned - likely winners

Unity 26.6%
Union of Right Forces 8.21%
Zhirinovsky 7.4%

TOTAL - 42.21%

Left: Opposition - trailing badly.

Communist - 25.2%
Fatherland 7.61%
Yabloko 5.81%

TOTAL - 38.6%

Roughly 19.2% of voters have voted for minor parties in the crucial party vote and, as under New Zealand's system, their vote is discarded.

As the more liberal vote in Moscow and St Petersburg is counted the clear victory of a right-wing coalition may be pared back a little, but it would appear that the Russian PM and the Kremlin have got what they wanted - a ‘right-leaning’ coalition - reformist - majority in the Parliament.

That they have done so at a time of widespread disquiet within Russia at the Western economic reforms - which ironically they have been the architects of - appears to be a clear consequence of the popular success of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's war in Chechnya.

The election has been accompanied by widespread criticism of the Kremlin's ability to use television stations controlled by the State and Kremlin allies to promote the Unity faction - which has appeared from nowhere in the polls over the last three months to control the largest share of the Russian Duma (Parliament).

On its face we have at this stage what amounts to a clear victory for the right and the hard-right in Russian politics.

This is quite possibly the most extreme example of a nationalist right wing swing in popular opinion seen since the rise of the National Socialist party in Germany in the 1930s - and if you are alarmed by this news then you should be.

Sunday's election was the third set of free elections held in the former Soviet Union.

ends

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