‘Society develops demand for new political forces’: Tatarstan preparing for 2021 political season

‘Society develops demand for new political forces’: Tatarstan preparing for 2021 political season

To save 15 Tatarstan seats in State Duma

The next forum of Tatarstan voters My Vote took place online on 25 November. The 4th session was named Duma Campaign 2021: Elections with Changed Legislation.

“We are in favour of the stability of electoral legislation and don’t want to make frequent changes to it,” claimed Chairman of the Tatarstan State Council Farid Mukhametshin at the beginning of the forum. “But life doesn’t stay still, the pandemic entered our lives, and we will consider those changes that envisage both early voting and online voting so that everybody’s vote will be available, heard, counted.”

The speaker of the parliament reminded the audience that elections of deputies of the 8th State Duma would be in September 2021.

“According to our republic’s voters, we set a task of saving the number of representatives of Tatarstan as State Duma deputies. We also want as many people as possible to come to the elections to hold the electoral campaign in a more organised and safer way,” Mukhametshin voiced the main goals.

Today 15 people represent the region in the Lower Chamber of the Russian parliament. Duma deputy Oleg Morozov who moderated the forum (together with political expert Andrey Bolshakov) added that the upcoming parliamentary elections were expected to be more competitive, the fight for voters would be tough.

Electoral novelties

Chairman of the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Tatarstan Andrey Kondratyev, in turn, talked about a bill the republic developed on three-day and online voting. In his opinion, this must provide “a safe and convenient model of voting”. He said that the State Duma would start considering amendments to the Tatarstan Electoral Code on 26 November.

“These changes have been dictated by life itself. Thanks to quick development and adoption of a series of federal laws according to whose norms we held the all-Russian voting on the amendments to the Constitution and the single voting day, these campaigns were successful,” the head of the Tatarstan CEC noted.

These amendments expand voting options, include the possibility of prolonging the voting process into three days (if the Commission makes such a decision depending on the situation). There will be strict control over the creation of lists of candidates: a voter who puts his signature to a candidate or party must write down his first and last names, signature himself, due to this the amount of lists reduces. A candidate will be denied registration if more than 5% signatures (instead of previous 10%) are rejected.

Guarantees of exclusion of representatives of criminal groups from the elected positions are created. 50 articles of the Criminal Code are introduced additionally, the moment of cancellation of a record of conviction increases to 5 years. Moreover, the status of an observer is explained more clearly.

Partiesratings

Political expert Andrey Bolshakov shared statistics on parties’ ratings.

“United Russia’s rating fluctuates at around 32%. Representatives of the party themselves want to raise it to 45%. Plus, the main focus is made on single-member districts. Serious factors interfered in the case, the pandemic, first of all. And they have a serious impact on the electoral campaign,” Bolshakov shared.

Another Tatarstan political expert and sociologist Andrey Tuzikov revealed results of the “average rating” of the popularity of parties in November 2020.

So United Russia is close to 31%, according to him, CPRF — 12%, LDPR — 10,5%, A Just Russia — 4,7%. Other parties got 10,5% in total. 14% of the respondents couldn’t answer.

“Society develops demand for new political forces,” the expert stressed.

Threat from the USA?

Chairman of the Commission for Interethnic and Interfaith Relations of the Russian Civic Chamber, political expert Vladimir Zorin claimed that not only domestic factors but also external forces would influence the upcoming electoral campaign. Moreover, the main threat predictably turned out to be from overseas.

“Joe Biden’s administration will try to intensify our foreign policy difficulties and interference in domestic affairs [of Russia],” the member of the Russian Civic Chamber claimed. “Our foreign partners pay special attention to Russia’s myriad of ethnicities and religions to destabilise them.”

However, in his opinion, the country has big experience in addressing these challenges. Ethnic and religious relations stop concerning Russians.

“During elections and censuses, some forces try to use ethnic or migrantophobic arguments to attract extra electorate. As a rule, it doesn’t work here, but this leaves a bad taste, a bad memory. We remember the slogans: ‘Say You’re Siberian’, ‘Enough Feeding Caucasus’, ‘Say You’re Adyghe’. Some forces are trying to reanimate them. These risks shouldn’t be underestimated,” Zorin stated.

By Timur Rakhmatullin
Tatarstan