Kremlin-backed parties kept their majority in Moscow’s municipal legislature, Russian media reported Monday morning. However, they saw their support slashed after months of protests over the vote that barred opposition voices and critics of President Vladimir Putin from running for office.
Although Putin is technically an independent, he has strong ties to United Russia, which reportedly came away with only 26 of the Moscow Duma’s 45 seats, a major drop from the 38 it held before. Some former United Russia members had branded themselves independents before the vote, however, as support for the party has plummeted amidst rising poverty across the country.
Two other parties that are loosely controlled by the Kremlin, the Communists and the centre-left A Just Russia are expected to win 14 and 4 seats, respectively.
Yabloko, a small social liberal and green party, is on track for three seats. It’s lead candidate Sergei Mitrokhin had been initially barred from running, but was allowed to contest the election after a city court in his favour.
Other Putin critics were not so lucky. In mid-July, the Central Election Commission refused to register most opposition politicians as candidates, claiming that the signatures of support they had gathered in order to run were falsified.
One such candidate was popular anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny, whose Russia of the Future party had been hoping to make gains against United Russia head of national elections in 2021.
Despite massive protests, the electoral commission did not budge on its decision to exclude Navalny from the election.
Local elections were held across the country, but the Moscow vote was the most closely watched following the summer of demonstrations.
The elections commission is due to present official results later on Monday.