5th Duma Slated to Look like 4th Duma

Here are the official results TsIK (Central Electoral Commission) head Vladimir Churov gave at a press conference.

United Russia: 64.1%
Communist Party of the Russian Federation: 11.6%
Liberal Democratic Party: 8.2%
Just Russia: 7.8%
Agrarian Party of Russia: 2.3%
Yabloko: 1.6%
Civil Forces: 1.1%
Union of Right Forces: 1.0%
Patriots of Russia: 0.9%
Party of Social Justice: 0.2%
Democratic Party of Russia: 0.1%

The turnout of the election was 63% of registered voters.

According to VTsIOM, the 5th Duma break down might be as follows:

United Russia: 313 seats.
Communist Party: 62 seats
LDPR: 40 seats
Just Russia: 35

In comparison to the composition of the 4th Duma, here are the gains and losses for each party when they enter the 5th Duma:

United Russia: +13
Communist Party : +15
LDPR: +11
Just Russia: +2

The fact that each party gained seats is because the 7 percent threshold cut the chaff from the wheat. When the percentages of the 4th and 5th Duma are compared, you get the following gains and losses.

United Russia: -1.9%
Communist Party: -1.2%
LDPR: +1.8%
Just Russia: +.5%

Well, this breakdown in gains and losses puts things into perspective. Essentially, there will be no real difference between the 4th and 5th Dumas. The only notable difference is the restructuring of the legislature’s composition to reflect the 7 percent law. SPS leader Boris Nadezhdin told RFE/RL that the election means that Russia “is a different country now. We have returned to the Soviet Union. It is not parliament or the next president that will have real power, but the United Russia party.” I don’t see what difference he’s talking about. Nor do I see how “the new combination of power gives the party and those who control it virtually a blank check in terms of remaking Russia’s political balance.” Um, that was kinda already the case.

Much as been made of upping the parliamentary threshold from 5 to 7 percent in July 2005. But given the returns for yesterday’s election, Russia’s liberal parties still wouldn’t have made it into the Duma even if the law stayed the same. This is still the case even if you combine Yabloko and SPS votes. Now one can say what they want about how managed and manipulated the Russian election was. But at some point SPS and Yabloko are going to have to ask themselves why they have no meaningful constituency. And blaming the Kremlin isn’t the answer.