Parliamentary elections 2007
In the 2007 parliamentary elections, the pro-government party “United Russia” (ER), with Vladimir Putin as the top candidate, won 315 of the 450 seats, followed far behind by the communists (57 seats) and the “liberal democrats” of the right-wing populist Zhirinovsky (40 seats) and the left-wing “Just Russia” party (38 seats). In this parliamentary election, the electoral law that had been changed in recent years was applied for the first time: the threshold clause was raised from five to seven percent and all members of the parliament were elected without exception using party lists based on proportional representation. The international observers considered the election to be unfair, they criticized restrictive election laws,
Parliamentary elections 2011
The Duma elections took place on December 4, 2011. According to the electoral commission, the ruling party United Russia received 49.5% of the vote and thus 238 of 450 seats in parliament. The CPdRF received 19.15% of the vote, Just Russia 13.17% and Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s LDPR 11.66%. The extra-parliamentary opposition parties failed to overcome the seven percent hurdle. The turnout was 60.21%. United Russia lost its two-thirds majority in parliament with the loss of almost 14% of the vote. The CPdRF again became the second largest party in the Duma. It almost doubled its result from 2007. The clear positioning of the Just Russia party as opposition party and its distance from ER earned it twice as many votes as in the last election.
The reaction to the result of the parliamentary elections was the largest protest rallies since the end of the Soviet Union, organized in more than 90 cities. Tens of thousands suspected the rulers of having manipulated and falsified the elections and called for a new poll.
New elections were the main demand at the large demonstration on Bolotnaya Square in Moscow. In response, Putin announced that he would allow direct elections to governors again. Medvedev announced the easing of party admission: the minimum membership was reduced from 45,000 to 500. The key positions in the management apparatus were filled. In several cities of Russia are demonstrations “For honest elections” of the demonstrations accompanied to support Putin.
General election 2016
According to computerannals, the seventh parliamentary election in Russia took place on September 18, 2016. The 450 members of the Russian Duma were elected.
The Duma elections were postponed from December to September 2016. Critics noted that the postponement served to ignore the election campaign during the summer vacation and to achieve a lower turnout.
A total of 14 parties competed, including the opposition parties Yabloko and the People’s Freedom Party (PARNAS). The turnout was 47.8 percent.
Most of the votes in the election, which was also held on the Crimean peninsula, went to the ruling party “United Russia”, led by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, with a good 54 percent. According to the election commission, the Communist Party came in second with 13.5 percent, followed by the national-conservative LDPR with 13.2 percent. The nationalist party “Just Russia” received 6 percent. These four parties were already represented in the Duma and voted with a majority on all major issues. The extra-parliamentary opposition parties failed to overcome the five percent hurdle.
In the Duma, power is shifting in favor of the ruling party “United Russia”. With 343 seats, the party clearly achieved a two-thirds majority in parliament, which now enables it to amend the constitution.
The Russian election observers from the NGO Golos reported on many violations of the electoral law this year.
2008 presidential election
On May 7, 2008, Vice-Prime Minister and Gazprom Supervisory Board Chairman Dmitry Medvedev (without party, elected on March 2, 2008 as a candidate for “United Russia”) took over the office of President from his predecessor Vladimir Putin, after he won the election with over 70% the votes emerged as the clear winner. During the election campaign, Medvedev enjoyed the full support of Putin, who was constitutionally prohibited from running for re-election for president. On the day he took office, Medvedev proposed Putin as prime minister. Parliament confirmed this with a large majority. Putin also presided over the United Russia party almost at the same time.
The presidential election was criticized by international observers: there were criticisms of excessive hurdles for applicants and biased reporting by the state-controlled media. Popular opposition candidates, such as the former world chess champion Garri Kasparov, the former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and the former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov were either not allowed to vote for formal reasons or had given up in advance.
2012 presidential election
At the United Russia congress on September 26, 2011, President Medvedev proposed Putin’s candidacy for the 2012 presidential election. In return, Putin had proposed Medvedev as prime minister. The presidential elections in 2012 determined the Russian President for the first time for a term of six years instead of the previous four years. Putin’s opponents were the communist Gennadij Zyuganov (CPdRF) and the nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky (LDPR). Other candidates of the fragmented opposition were the oligarch Mikhail Prokhorovand the former chairman of the Federation Council Sergei Mironov (Fair Russia). However, their presence in the Russian media was low. Grigori Jawlinski was refused admission to the presidential election in January 2012 because, according to the electoral authorities, around 25% of the two million supporters’ signatures were forged.
During the presidential election, the polling stations were video-monitored across the board. The measure cost 25 billion rubles (about 620 million euros) and was initiated by Prime Minister Putin in response to protests after the Duma elections in December 2011.
The polls predicted Putin’s victory in the first round of voting: the two state polling institutes WZIOM and FOM expected an approval rate of over 50% for the head of government. According to the electoral commission, Putin received 63.60% of the votes in the first ballot on March 4, 2012. In second place was Gennady Zyuganov with 17.18%. The remaining three candidates each landed under ten percent of the vote. The turnout was around 63%.
The opposition criticized a large number of irregularities and held several demonstrations. One day before the inauguration of Vladimir Putin, there were bloody clashes between protesters and security forces in Moscow.