The leader of Russia’s second political party alleges widespread violations during the election of a new national parliament, in which his party is expected to win seats by a large margin.
Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov said on Saturday – the second of three polling days in the elections – that the police and the National Election Commission must respond to reports of a number of “absolutely flagrant” violations of the protocol. election, including ballot stuffing in several regions.
Election observation movement Golos and independent media also reported violations, including vote buying and inadequate measures to protect ballots at polling stations.
The United Russia Party, loyal to President Putin, seems certain to retain its dominance in the State Duma (the lower house of parliament), but some projections suggest it could lose its current two-thirds majority, which is enough to change the Constitution. The Communists should recover most of the seats lost by United Russia.
Although the Communists generally support the Kremlin’s initiatives in parliament, winning seats would be a loss of face for United Russia. The Communists are seen as potentially beneficiaries of the “smart vote” program promoted by the team of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, which aims to undermine United Russia by advising voters which candidates are best placed to defeat the candidates of the United Russia. dominant party.
However, it is unclear how effective the program will be after Apple and Google remove smart voting apps from their stores under pressure from the Kremlin. Authorities previously blocked access to the program’s website. Navalny’s organizations have been declared extremists, meaning that anyone associated with them cannot stand for election, eliminating the most important opposition in the election.
Zyuganov said the party documented at least 44 incidents of voting violations and that the party requested permission to hold protests in the week after voting ended on Sunday.
On Saturday, the Znak news site said a resident of the Moscow region was offering 1,000 rubles (about £ 10) to people who voted for United Russia. The website said it called the man, who said payment would come if the caller provided proof of his vote through a messaging app.
The Golos movement cited reports from its observers and local media of a series of apparent violations, including ballots stored overnight in a cabinet with a broken door and envelopes to store ballot counts. vote appearing to have been opened and then closed.
On the first day of polling, Friday, unexpected queues formed at some polling stations, and independent media suggested this could show state institutions and businesses forcing employees to vote.
St. Petersburg media reported suspected cases of “carousel voting,” in which voters cast their ballots at several different polling stations. A journalist reported seeing the same voters, who are said to be students of military schools, at two different polling stations; one of them said that the group had initially taken the wrong polling station.
A member of the local election commission posted a video in which a man appeared to have attempted to vote several times and was confronted by a polling station worker. The man in the video said he got his ballots at a subway station.
The Independent Gt