In Russia election results, online votes sweep Putin opponents aside

MOSCOW—Russia’s Pronunciation party retained a two-thirds majority in the lower house of Parliament and claimed an overwhelming victory in opposition-minded Moscow – a grim display of Kremlin power if the authorities on Monday announced the results of a national parliamentary election die was labeled as blatantly counterfeit by opposition leaders.

Partially results released after polling stations close on Sunday night had shown significant gains by opposition parties and possible victories by various candidates supported by the imprisoned opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny. But by the time the Russian Central Election Commission reaches a near… full count on Monday were die gains largely disappeared – sparking Kremlin anger critics, claims of large-scale fraud and scattered calls for protests.

Russian elections are not free and fairand die of the country best- well-known opposition figures were barred from voting, jailed of banned in the months before the three-day vote that ended on Sunday. But Mr.’s allies Navalny had hoped use a coordinated protest vote in the election to reprimand President Vladimir V. Putin.

The focal point of the wrath of the opposition on Monday was the Russian capital, a stronghold of anti-Kremlin sentiment where the government voted for voters to cast their vote ballots online. Challengers of the verdict party, United Russia, led in different constituencies for the results of online votes were tabulated, with a delay, on Monday. Shortly afterwards, the election commission declared the pro-Kremlin candidate victorious in each of die give way.

Like a result, the ruling United Russia party swept to a dominant performance and retained its two-thirds “super-majority” in the lower house of Parliament, the State Duma – all despite the inclusion of approval ratings below 30 percent in recent polls published by staterun research groups. The party received 50 percent of the vote with 52 percent emergence — and won 198 of the 225 seats distributed in direct elections for one district.

“We’ve never had a voting process that we didn’t have” know something over,” Roman Udot, a co-head of Golos, an independent election observation group, said of Moscow’s online vote system. “There’s a Kind” of big, big skeleton in the closet here.”

An official in the Moscow city government explained the delay in the table of online votes by referring to a “decryption” process that took “considerably longer than we expected”, the Interfax news agency reported.

Mr Navalny said: in An social media message of prison that the delay in release online vote results allowed “the nimble little hands” of United Russia officials to ‘do the fake’ results exactly the opposite.” The Communist Party, die came in second rural and in multiple of the contested races at the district level in the capital, said it was the online vote results in Moscow.

But it wasn’t clear what, if anything, critics of the outcome could change the situation. The judiciary is under the thumb of the Kremlin, while prominent opposition figures are banned of behind bar. Street protests are becoming more common punished by means of jail terms.

Already met though the outcome further demonstrated Mr Putin’s strengthening lock on political life — and perhaps served as a dress rehearsal for the presidential elections of 2024, in die Mr Putin could find a fifth? term.

“For the president, the main thing was and remains competitiveness, openness and fairness of the elections,” Mr Putin’s spokesman Dmitri S. Peskov told reporters on Monday. “We, of of course, assess the election process very, very positively.”

Kremlin critics Has been warning for weeks that online votes can open up new weigh for fraud, as the tabulation process was even less transparent than the counting of paper ballots.

On Monday the communists called: for protests, but the Moscow authorities quickly refused them a permit because of pandemic-related restrictions, according to the state news agencies. Leonid Volkov, a top assistant to Mr. Navalny who has tried to coordinate the opposition votes from exile, stopped short of insist on people out out on the street, but said he and his colleagues would support “all peaceful protests” die could help overthrow of the results.

Television images on Monday showed police cars die located on Pushkin Square in collect the center of Moscow, but that was not the case clear of there would be protests.

“The Kremlin took this step because it was sure it could get away with it,” said Mr Volkov: in An post on the messaging app Telegram. Putin decided that he need Do not be afraid of the street. Whether he is right of not – we will find out.”

Oleg Matsneva reporting contributed.

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