Politics Desk report: "Yabloko Has Taken the Lead
in the Number of Refusals To Register Its Ticket in the Regions"
The official registration period is over in 19 of the 27
regions where elections to the parliaments of components of
the Russian Federation will be held at the same time as the
State Duma election on 4 December. Yabloko has had
more difficulty collecting signatures than the other non-parliamentary
parties, and it was not allowed to run in the elections in
six of the federation components where its ticket was certified.
The campaign in Mordvinia, where only three parties are registered,
is the most controversial one. Parties are filing suit and
complaining to the Central Electoral Commission in Chuvashia
and Novgorod Oblast.
In most of the regions where local parliamentary elections
will be held at the same time as the Duma election, the registration
of candidates has been completed (in 14 regions last Friday).
At this stage of the campaign, the locations where non-parliamentary
parties will be able to run in the elections are already apparent.
Yabloko was denied registration in six regions
-- Ingushetia, Maritime Territory, Stavropol Territory, Amur
Oblast, Moscow Oblast, and Altay Territory. Its lists of candidates
were registered in four regions -- Perm Territory, Samara
and Astrakhan oblasts, and St. Petersburg. The registration
deadline has not arrived yet in five of the regions where
the Yabloko ticket was certified -- Karelia and Leningrad,
Pskov, and Omsk oblasts.
The Right Cause was denied registration in Mordvinia and
Stavropol Territory and was registered in nine regions --
Ingushetia, Krasnoyarsk and Perm territories, Amur, Moscow,
Orel, Sverdlovsk, Tomsk, and Omsk oblasts, and St. Petersburg.
The party's certified lists of candidates have not been approved
yet in Tyumen and Amur oblasts and Karelia. The Patriots of
Russia party was denied registration in Novgorod and Orel
oblasts. It was registered in nine components of the Russian
Federation -- Chuvashia, Kamchatka and Perm territories, Amur,
Astrakhan, Samara, Tomsk, and Tyumen oblasts, and St. Petersburg.
The party's certified ticket in Omsk Oblast has not been registered
Yabloko has had more difficulty than all the rest in collecting
signatures and convincing electoral commissions of their validity.
In some regions where the party's lists were certified, such
as Maritime Territory as well as Amur, Moscow, and Omsk oblasts,
Yabloko either did not collect signatures or did not collect
the required amount. In other regions, the submitted signatures
were rejected by electoral commissions. According to Musa
Yevloyev, the head of the Ingushetian Electoral Commission,
for example, Yabloko was 1,000 signatures short. "Furthermore,
experts rejected 12 percent of the signatures the Yabloko
members did manage to collect," he reported. Daud Garakoyev,
the leader of the Yabloko members in Ingushetia, is planning
to challenge the electoral commission's decision in court.
As Kommersant already reported, Yabloko members believe the
requirements for the collection of signatures for regional
elections are unconstitutional and are drafting an appeal
to the Constitutional Court. Yabloko leader Sergey Mitrokhin
told Kommersant that Yabloko's low level of activity in the
regions is due to its wish to concentrate on the Duma campaign.
The Patriots of Russia party is trying to challenge the refusal
to register its ticket in Novgorod Oblast. As party spokesman
Yevgeniy Shevchenko told Kommersant, violations were committed
during the examination of the signatures, and the party also
has complaints about the oblast branch of the Federal Migration
Service and is planning to file a complaint with the Central
Electoral Commission. The failure of the "Patriots"
in the region is being blamed on the regional officials' preference
for the CPRF and their consequent refusal to register the
Patriots of Russia candidates to avoid splitting the electorate.
The situation is the opposite in Chuvashia, where Just Russia
challenged the electoral commission's decision to register
Patriots of Russia, arguing that the authorities had allowed
Patriots of Russia to run in spite of the party's invalid
The Right Cause, which was shaken by scandal at the start
of the campaign when its leader, businessman Mikhail Prokhorov,
was removed from this position, nevertheless did not drop
out of the race. According to party member Andrey Bogdanov,
the right-wingers are expecting fairly impressive results
in Sverdlovsk, Moscow, and Amur oblasts and St. Petersburg.
To put it plainly, extra seats will be reserved for the opposition
in these regions (a party winning more than 5 percent but
less than 7 percent of the vote will be given one or two seats).
As Kommersant already reported, the campaign has been most
controversial in Mordvinia. Only three parties (United Russia,
the CPRF, and the LDPR) are registered in this region, where
United Russia won almost 100 percent of the vote in the last
election. Just Russia took itself out of the race there because
the local branch is controlled by republic leader Nikolay
Merkushkin, whose name is listed at the top of the United
Russia ticket. Communists in Mordvinia sent a letter to the
prosecutor's office to request a ruling on statements by the
head of Mordvinia, who said at one meeting with the voters
that some of the candidates on the CPRF list are "individuals
with connections to the criminal underworld." In addition,
Valentina Zaytseva, the head of the republic CPRF committee,
reported a violation of election law, which is now common
in Mordvinian elections: "All of the civil servants who
should have taken a leave of absence for the period of the
campaign are still in their offices."
All seven of the parties registered with the Ministry of
Justice will be participating in the elections in St. Petersburg
and Perm Kray. In then latter, the CPRF had problems registering.
Experts ascribe this to the presence of members of the Solidarity
opposition group on the party's list of candidates (Vadim
Chebykin, Konstantin Okunev, Vladimir Maltsev, and Gennadiy
Kuzmitskiy, all deputies of the kray parliament). "The
authorities have been keeping an eye on the CPRF's alliance
with Solidarity since spring. There were attempts to pressure
the party from above. The electoral commission is acting on
the wishes of kray administration officials," Konstantin
Okunev told Kommersant.
Only the parliamentary parties will be competing for deputy
seats in at least seven regions (Mordvinia, Lipetsk, Vologda,
Murmansk, and Novgorod oblasts, the Jewish Autonomous Oblast,
and Stavropol Territory). In no region are all of the parties
simultaneously backing candidates in single-seat districts,
and independent candidates have been the most likely to be
"The non-parliamentary parties are hoping to win three
percent of the vote and state funding in the Duma election,
and the regional campaigns help in promoting the federal brand,"
political analyst Mikhail Vinogradov said. "Yabloko was
at least visible in the streets when the party was collecting
signatures. The rest probably have administrative support."