United Russia’s hegemonony

Just like Ukraine, Russia will soon be electing all 450 of its legislators* in a single national district, via closed lists. Unlike Ukraine, however, in Russia the new electoral system is part of a centralized ruling party’s process of further centralization. Russia is, unsurprisingly given the narrowing of political space under outgoing President Vladimir Putin, headed for a hegemonic-party system. A recent Angus Reid poll suggests:

    United Russia (YR): 46%
    Communist Party (KPRF): 9%
    Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR): 9%
    A Just Russia: 7%
    Agrarian Party of Russia (APR): 2%
    Yabloko (Liberal): 1%
    Union of Right Forces (SPS): 1%
    Another party 1%
    Would not vote: 7%
    Hard to answer: 19%

(I am pretty sure I have never seen a poll with “Hard to answer” as an option before.)

The threshold is 7% (compare Ukraine’s 3%). So, the poll suggests only two or three small parties aside from YR would make it into parliament. It would not take many parties missing the threshold to result in sufficient wasted votes to give YR a majority of seats, even if it indeed wins only 46% of the vote. But it is likely that it will win much more than 50% of the votes, once we take the nonvoters out of the denominator, and imagine that the “hard to answer” bloc ultimately will include a significant number of YR voters. In fact, I would guess we could be looking at two thirds to three quarters of the seats for United Russia.

The election is 2 December. The presidential election to choose (make that anoint) Putin’s successor is expected in March, 2008.

* Unlike Ukraine, Russia also has an upper house, though its members are not elected.

0 thoughts on “United Russia’s hegemonony

  1. It’s one thing for geographically small jurisdictions like Finland or Switzerland to use large electoral districts (all the STV-using districts – Ireland, Malta, Tasmania, the Aust Capital Territory – tend to be small in area, at least by Australian or Californian standards), or in Israel’s case, no districts at all.

    But when the world’s largest-in-area nation decides that it too can dispense with districting, then… Well, um, even as a PR shill I dunno I want to point to Putin as an inspiration for democratic reform.


  2. Linguistic trivia: Duma, “decision-making body”, is a Russian cognate of the same Indo-European root as English “deem” and “doom”.

    JRR Tolkien uses “doom” a few times in the archaic sense of “judgment” or “ruling” (“Thefore I lay this doom upon you”, etc).


  3. Speaking of the Isle of Man, Tynwald, and curious constitutional arrangements under the British Monarchy… here’s a recent news item on South Australia’s pair of vice-regal appointments:

    “From Vietnam to SA: The vice-regal odd couple”

    By Mike Sexton

    ABC News (Thursday 9 August 2007)


    Most other States here don’t have a permanent Lieut Governor; the State Chief Justice simply fills in temporarily if the Governor is absent. (However, given the federal High Court’s recent activism in enforcing both the common law rule against bias, and the constitutional rule requiring separation of judicial power for all courts exercising federal jurisdiction – which may be vested in State courts too – some States are reconsidering whether having the CJ sign Acts and exec orders is asking for legal trouble).


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