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Opposition secures 20 seats in Moscow local polls


Moscow, Sep 9 (IANS) A "smart vote" strategy devised by the leader of Russia’s extra-parliamentary opposition, Alexey Navalny, to wrest power from the official United Russia party in the local polls has secured them 20 seats in Moscow’s Legislative Assembly.

Navalny tweeted late Sunday that those seats were a "fantastic" result of smart voting, and thanked everyone for their support, reports Efe news.

According to the Interfax news agency, after counting 99.47 per cent of the protocols of the electoral commissions, 20 candidates nominated and supported by the opposition parties became a part of the Duma (legislative assembly) of the city of Moscow.

A total of 225 candidates across nine parties were contesting the 45 seats in the election, which witnessed a turnout of 21.63 percent, slightly higher than the elections in 2014.

The candidates did not include 57 members of the extra-parliamentary opposition, such as former member of the State Duma, Dmitry Gudkov, or Ilya Yashin and Lyubov Sobol, both from Navalny’s team.

Only the liberal Sergey Mitrojin of the Yabloko party managed to contest the elections after going to court.

Although more than 5,000 elections at different levels were held on the so-called "single day of voting", all the attention was focused on Moscow, where the election commission’s decision to not allow virtually all of the opposition candidates to contest led to the largest protests in Russia since 2012.

Once Navalny and his associates understood they could not take part in the elections, they decided on the strategy of "smart vote", through which they recommended voters through a website to support the candidate with the best chance of defeating the party in power.

On this occasion, the candidates of United Russia, led by President Vladimir Putin, did not contest the Moscow elections under the party name, but in their personal capacity, owing to a decline in popularity of the party.

Nine current members from United Russia were re-elected on Sunday.

United Russia’s leader in Moscow, Andrey Metelsky, who had been a member of the Duma since 2001, lost his seat.

On Sunday, elections were held to elect four legislators to fill vacant seats in the State Duma (Russia’s national parliament), the governors of 19 regions, the legislative assemblies of 13 entities of the Russian Federation and a large number of municipal councils.


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