Putin’s party poised to retain majority
After a few weeks of desultory campaigning but months of relentless official moves to shut down significant opposition, Russia is holding three days of voting this weekend in a parliamentary election that is unlikely to change the country’s political complexion.
There’s no expectation that United Russia, the party devoted to President Vladimir Putin, will lose its dominance of the State Duma, the elected lower house of Parliament. The main questions to be answered are whether the party will retain its current two-thirds majority that allows it to amend the Constitution, whether anemic turnout will dull the party’s prestige, and whether imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s Smart Voting initiative proves to be a viable strategy against it.
“There is very little intrigue in these elections,” Andrei Kolesnikov, an analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said.
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