Russian State Duma, Regional and Local Elections
by Stephen Lendman
Independent monitors call Russian elections open, free and fair – mocking America’s money-controlled farcical process, fantasy democracy for its privileged few alone, duopoly power winning every time before polls open, voters having no say over how they’re governed.
On Sunday, September 18, Russians will elected 450 State Duma lower house members, along with numerous regional and municipal officials in 39 nationwide regions.
Thousands of polling stations opened at 8:00AM, remaining open until 8:00PM. RT International explained voting will go on for 22 hours because of Russia’s vast territory – from the Western Kaliningrad Oblast to the Far East Pacific.
State Duma representatives are elected under a split system – 225 by party membership, the other 225 representing one-seat constituencies.
More than 111 million Russians are eligible to vote, no minimal turnout required. Voters have 14 parties to choose from – vastly different from America’s one-party rule with two right wings, independents virtually shut out.
Parties competing include United Russia, the Communist Party of Russia, the Liberal Democratic Party, A Just Russia, Russia’s Patriots, Civil Platform, the Green Party, the Party of Growth, Parnas, Civil Power, Russia’s Communists, Yabloko, Rodina, and the Russian Party of Pensioners for Justice.
A 5% electoral threshold is required to qualify for holding any Duma seats. Over 103,000 candidates are competing at the federal, regional and municipal levels.
Any citizen aged 18 or over may vote including expats living temporarily or permanently abroad, prisoners and legally incapable people excluded.
RT explained voting in remote regions began before polls opened nationwide because election committees need extra time and effort to arrive at their stations.
A follow-up article will report on results when they’re known. Vladimir Putin’s United Russia Party is expected to remain most popular. In December 2011 elections, it won 49.67% of the votes – far ahead of other parties, the Communist Party finishing second with 19.15% electorate support.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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