RIA Novosti: Russian pollster sees same parties in Duma after election

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(RIA Novosti – September 8, 2016)

The head of Russia’s main state-owned pollster has said that the chances of parties that were not represented in the last State Duma winning seats in the lower house in the parliamentary election on 18 September are minimal.

Little chance

“Now we don’t see chances of overcoming the 5-per-cent barrier,” Valery Fyodorov, head of the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM), said in an interview with Russian state news agency RIA Novosti published on 8 September (bit.ly/2cIhRvq).

“They should do something unimaginable in order to get over the entry barrier,” he said.

“But… the Americans say that one day means a lot in politics, can change a lot, and that is true. And there are still 10 days ahead,” he added.

Half of the 450 MPs in the lower chamber will be elected proportionally through party lists. Parties that get at least 5 per cent of the vote will gain seats in the house. The remaining 225 seats will be first-past-the-post.

Party list seats

Fyodorov said that probably all the four parties that were represented in the last Duma – the ruling United Russia party, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), the LDPR (also known as the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia), and A Just Russia – should win seats through party lists.

“United Russia will win the election however it turns out, and gain at least twice as many votes as its nearest rival,” he said.

“Second and third will be the CPRF and the LDPR, though it’s not yet clear in which order,” he added.

A Just Russia will be fourth. “They have not bad chances of overcoming the 5-per-cent barrier, maybe even gain 7, 8 or 9 per cent,” he said.

First-past-the-post seats

The ruling United Russia is also expected to sweep 70 per cent of the first-past-the-post seats, he said.

Yet some parties that fail to get seats through party lists could gain one or two seats each in first-past-the-post constituencies.

He said veteran opposition figure Vladimir Ryzhkov, who is standing for the liberal Yabloko party, could win in Altay Territory, and Boris Nadezhdin, running for the pro-business Party of Growth, could gain a seat in Moscow Region.

Possible state financing?

Some non-parliamentary parties might also gain enough votes to receive state financing in future, Fyodorov said.

“Of the non-parliamentary parties, Yabloko, Rodina and the Party of Pensioners have some significant chances,” he said, adding that “significant chances” do not mean overcoming the 5-per-cent barrier.

“I mean getting more than 2 per cent,” he said. “Of course, 3 per cent is much better because that makes it possible to receive state financing and significantly facilitate the future political activity of a party between elections.”

Systemic vs non-systemic opposition

The CPRF, the LDPR and A Just Russia, the three parties predicted to win seats alongside United Russia, are known as the “systemic opposition” – parties that tow the Kremlin’s line.

Other parties outside this Kremlin system are known as the “non-systemic opposition”, and their political stripes range from liberal to nationalist. Many are considered to have the Kremlin’s backing, with some apparently playing a “spoiler” role.