TURNOUT IN OBLAST ELECTION SUGGESTS COMMUNIST TAKEOVER OF FEDERATION COUNCIL
Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 158
. In addition to the elections for governors taking place in 52 regions around Russia, elections for regional legislatures are being held this fall in 18 regions. Kaluga oblast, where elections to the 40-seat regional Duma were held on August 25, was the first. The results bear out predictions that voter apathy would set in after the excitement of the presidential elections. At 29 percent of the electorate, turnout was high enough to validate the elections for the region as a whole. In a majority of constituencies, however, turnout was lower than that and repeat elections will have to be held. Turnout was lowest in the region’s two largest cities, Kaluga and Obninsk. As a result of the relatively high rural turnout, the Agrarian Party has so far won six of the 40 seats. (Russian Radio, August 26) This is precisely the voting pattern that pro-government parties fear will typify this fall’s regional elections, since low turnout tends to favor Communist and agrarian candidates. If repeated throughout the country this fall, this kind of voting behavior could see the Communist and Agrarian parties take control of the upper house of the Russian parliament, the Federation Council. The Communist party and its Agrarian allies already control the lower house, the State Duma.
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