Putin’s Party Scores Under 50 Per Cent In Elections
Russia United, Vladimir Putin’s party, suffered a surprising setback in the general elections, falling short of scoring the 50% requested votes that would allowed them to rule without the need of any alliance. The Central Election Committee on Monday announced that Russia United scored 49.8 percent of the votes, compared to 64 per cent in 2007. The Russians voted for their representatives on Sunday.
The Communist party increased its percentage from 12 percent in 2007 to 20 percent on Sunday. Liberal Democrats and the Just Russia party also scored high for their expectations, forcing the Russia United to work with one of these parties in the next parliament.
Analysts had predicted that a decline of the ruling party’s popularity may occur given that the gap between poor and rich has widened and accusations of high level corruption have been launched. In 2007, Russia United scored enough votes to allow it to change the Constitution without a problem.
More than 100 opposition activists were detained during a demonstration in Moscow on early Sunday, and dozens in Sankt Petersburg. Some of the poll watchers were blocked from monitoring the correctness of the election. Sites of independent observers were hacked and rendered useless.
The results on Monday, after more than 90 per cent of the votes were counted, comes as the incumbent prime minister Vladimir Putin formally accepted a nomination made in September to return to Kremlin as president of the federation.
Putin is sure that the job swap with Medvedev would result in a success and that he would become the next president of the Russian Federation, with possibility to stay in office until 2024.
In October he laid out his ambitious plan for the next term in office: the creation of a economic union similar to the European Union: the Eurasian Union, built on the existing Customs Union between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.
The first steps were already taken by the signing of a free trade agreement and the new union is designed to become operational by 2015.
Putin was very careful to explain that the new construction does not imitate the Soviet Union, neither does it compete with the World Trade Organization, which is expected to offer Russia its membership this month.
The results of the general elections are expected to be a shock for Putin and are perceived as a reaction of the population to the prospect of the return of his authoritarian rule.11