Russia has started electing the 7th State Duma (lower house of parliament), as the first polling stations opened in the easternmost Kamchatka and Chukchi peninsulas at 08:00 on Sunday (23:00 Moscow time), when it was still late Saturday evening in the country’s western areas.
A new State Duma, in contrast to the outgoing one that was formed entirely on party tickets, will be shaped under a mixed pattern: 225 of its members will be elected on the proportionate basis (on party tickets), and another 225 in single-member constituencies.
Eleven political parties will participate with their lists of candidates: alongside the four ones having a representation in the current State Duma (United Russia, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia and A Just Russia) there are ten others – Yabloko, Party of Growth, Parnas, Rodina (Motherland), Patriots of Russia, Communists of Russia, Civic Platform, Civic Force, Russian Party of Pensioners for Justice, and the Greens. Alongside party candidates there are 23 self-nominees in single-member constituencies. A total of 6,500 candidates will be contesting seats in the State Duma (14+ contenders per one seat).
The right to vote belongs to 111.6 million Russians residing within the country’s territory or registered on voter lists of Russian consular missions abroad. On the polling day more than 94,000 polling stations will open, including those in closed territories – military garrisons, prisons, hospitals, etc. The people of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, which joined Russia in March 2014 after a referendum, will be voting in the Russian parliamentary election for the first time. A total of 371 polling stations have been formed outside Russia in 145 countries.
On the same day, September 18, all the 85 Russian regions will hold more than 5,300 elections of different level.
Seven regions will elect governors and regional heads – the republics of Komi, Chechnya and Tuva, the Baikal Territory and the Tver, Tula and Ulyanovsk regions.
A total of 39 regions will elect deputies of local legislatures.
In all, over 103,000 candidates are taking part in the elections and some 40,000 mandates will be distributed as a result of the vote.
The All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center, the country’s chief pollster, said on Friday the voter turnout at the elections is expected to reach or even exceed 50% There is no minimal required voter turnout.
There will also be a new Russian Federation Council (the parliament’s upper house) after the September 18 polls. It is made up of representatives of regional legislatures and executive bodies. The senators are delegated by regional parliaments and governors after the election.