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Russians Not Confident Of Honest Elections In December - Poll

Moscow, 27 July: Russians do not believe that December's elections to the State Duma will be honest, and are in favour of electoral law being liberalized, according to an opinion poll conducted by the Levada Centre in July.

Slightly more than one-third of Russians (35 per cent) are expecting a genuine contest between the parties for seats in December, while the majority (53 per cent) are confident that "there will simply be a simulation of elections, while the authorities will determine the distribution of places in the Duma", sociologists from the Levada Centre told Interfax on Wednesday (27 July) as they presented the results of the poll.

According to their data, 54 per cent of those who replied predict that "dirty techniques" will be used during the State Duma elections in December (defamation, pressuring voters, sharp practices with ballot papers). Half as many are expecting honest and lawful elections (29 per cent).

Fifty-nine per cent of Russians see the parliamentary elections overall as "a struggle between bureaucratic clans for access to the state budget", and only 28 per cent of those who replied see the elections as a national event.

The Levada Centre poll also showed that Russia's citizens are in favour of electoral law being liberalized.

There are significantly more Russians who favour the threshold for entry into parliament being reduced (46 per cent against 28 per cent) and elections to single-seat constituencies being restored (the first-past-the-post system) (49 per cent against 16 per cent).

At the same time, an absolute majority of those surveyed - 73 per cent - would like to see the "against all" line restored to ballot papers. Eleven per cent are opposed to that.

During the poll it emerged that Russians still prefer a multi-party system in the State Duma to a situation where every decision is taken by one victorious party (43 per cent and 36 per cent respectively).


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