Weekly Current Affairs

Putin tightens control with big win for ruling party [IR]

  • Vladimir Putin won even greater supremacy over Russia’s political system after the ruling United Russia party took three quarters of the seats in Parliament, paving the way for him to run for a fourth term as President.
  • With most votes counted, the party, founded by Mr. Putin almost 16 years ago after he first became President, was on track to win 76 per cent of the seats in Russia’s Duma, the lower house of Parliament, up from just over half in 2011.
  • Liberal opposition parties failed to win any seats.
  • Turnout was only around 48 %, down from 60 % in 2011, suggesting apathy among some Russians — particularly in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
  • The win showed voters still trusted the leadership despite an economic slowdown made worse by Western sanctions over Ukraine.
  • Russian economy, is forecast to shrink this year by at least 0.3 per cent.
  • The win is up from 238 seats in the last parliamentary election, in 2011, and is enough to allow the United Russia to unilaterally change the Constitution, though Mr. Putin can run again under the existing one as he was Prime Minister between his second and third terms.