After a year in Russia’s presidential elections, the official campaign will begin at the end of the current year, and therefore the Central election Commission of the Russian Federation has already begun the organizational preparations for the election day.
To predict the nature of the upcoming campaign, experts say, it’s still early, but already offer their solutions to one of the key problems of achieving a good turnout. To achieve the target of 70%, according to them, as to avoid the risk of administrative mobilization, is quite problematic, but possible.
Analysts do not rule out the emergence of candidates-newcomers and even participate in the elections former Minister of Finance Alexey Kudrin, but still a favorite think the current head of state Vladimir Putin, who, they believe, is sure to be nominated for the 2018 elections.
Preparations are already underway
By law, presidential elections are held on the second Sunday in March (the 11th), but in the case of coincidence of voting day with a festive day of elections is transferred to the first Sunday in March — next year it will be March 4. As previously reported by the Secretary of the CEC, Maya Grishina, in the case of support for the proposed project of the Ministry of labour about the transfer of the holidays, the elections can go 4 or March 18, depending on the outcome of the consideration of the amendments that were previously submitted to the Duma. They involve the transfer of voting day on the third, not the first Sunday of the month in the case of coincidence with the holiday.
Until next March there is still enough time, but the Russian Central election Commission has already started the planned training. Also working on the issues of technical equipment of the polling stations, and legislators are considering amendments to increase the transparency of the elections. For the preparation and conduct of elections in 2018, the CEC allocated slightly more than 14.8 billion rubles.
Election campaign involves several steps, the first of them is the nomination of candidates. They can be extended either at party congresses or in self; for self-nominated candidates, this step also assumes registration of the initiative group of a minimum of 500 people, and then the collection of signatures in support of nomination. The second stage is the notice of nomination, for the party, it means opening a special electoral account and the collection of signatures in support of nomination — for those parties that are not parliamentary or do not have their factions in one third of constituent entities of the Russian Federation.
Grishina said that the plan of the CEC for the current year there are many activities that relate to the preparation by the election of the President. The office on the eve of elections should prepare a considerable number of normative acts, this work now is organized and conducted, she added.
Putin and the question of succession
The experts predict the victory of acting President Vladimir Putin. They are sure he is not only sure to be nominated for the 2018 elections, but to win by a large margin from the other participants. Experts agree that, in fact, serious competitors Putin, as well as those who in terms of recognition and support could become an alternative to it, yet.
At the same time they do not exclude that in case of victory of Putin, maybe even before the end of term to give way to a successor, which, says the political scientist, expert of the Institute of humanitarian-political researches Vladimir Slatinov has already been “grown”. According to the analyst, the incumbent President understands that “the problem of succession is key from the point of view of self-preservation of the system and its possibilities for further survival and development.” “Such a candidate is raised, by far,” said the analyst. The only question is, the expert added, when we will see this successor, now or “in increments of six years.” He did not rule out that when a successor will appear officially, Putin can “give” him the way.
The political scientist, member of the expert Council of the Institute of socio-economic and political studies Alexei Zudin, while paying attention to the fact that Putin was perceived not only as responsible, but as “a strategic leader who possesses strategic thinking”. “Putin, I think, will go to this campaign with the same attitude with which he returned in 2012 for President, when he was asked: “Why?” he said, “to finish unfinished,” concluded Zudin.
Who will compete for the presidency this time?
About his plans to run for already stated the leader of LDPR Vladimir Zhirinovsky and opposition leader Alexei Navalny, sentenced probation in the case about the theft of “Kirovles”, but, according to many legal experts, the verdict, most likely, will not allow him to run. Party “the Apple” earlier also adopted the decision on nomination of Grigory Yavlinsky. In “Fair Russia” stated that nominated their candidate at a party Congress in the autumn.
On the question of the participation of Putin in the 2018 campaign, his press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said that the presidential election is not on the Kremlin agenda.
Experts predict in the upcoming presidential election appearance of candidates-beginners, first of all, from the parties of the systemic opposition – the Communist party and “Fair Russia”. However, draws the attention of the Vice-President of the Center for political technologies, Alexei Makarkin, they are little known outside their region “has to be explained to who it is”, and therefore interest in politics will be weak. If, nevertheless, the leaders of “Fair Russia” and the Communist party, Sergei Mironov and Gennady Zyuganov decides to run, then, according to Makarkin, “will doing this inertia”.
The problem with the already known and expected candidates, agree the experts, that they have ceased to evoke emotion in the electorate, and, in fact, bothered him. The participation of the leader of the liberal democratic party, said Makarkin, could give the interest of the campaign because of the shocking Zhirinovsky, but, in General, adds Slatinov, part of “our eternal candidate”, maybe even “have a negative impact on the General image of the elections”.
The participation of the leaders of the parties of the systemic opposition and the participation of Grigory Yavlinsky from the Yabloko party it compares with the “Christmas lights effect”, when “a huge part of society it will make you want to turn off the TV”. Easier for the authorities and convincing Yavlinsky, Slatinov believes, could be Mikhail Kasyanov, “there is a negative perception of the image, but there’s such a fatigue”, but chances are it is too little.
While experts disagree about possible participation of ex-Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin. So, Slatinov suggests that his participation is not ruled out. Moreover, what if the speaker “POPs out with the support of the Kremlin, then he will collect the signatures, there’s no doubt about that”. However, do not agree Zudin and political analyst Gleb Kuznetsov, according to which Kudrin is not a public politician and has no electoral experience. Moreover, Zudin said, “in fact Kudrin is a member of the leading candidate” and develops an economic program for Putin.
Additional interest campaign could give and try extension Bulk, Slatinov considers, but is negotiated that very hard pressure and criticism Bulk reduce his own chances. Political scientists unanimously say very low chance for him to become a registered candidate. The fact is, says Makarkin, an opposition politician, not only is in “limbo”, but, according to polls, “the public attitude is very skeptical”. He suggested that Navalny took over the election campaign in order to increase their own bids, but because his campaign “hardly relates to the actual election campaign”.
Expert assessments on the upcoming campaign
Earlier, a source in the presidential administration in an interview with reporters said that the upcoming elections should be held when the highest possible turnout, while the winning candidate must gain more votes than the winner in the previous elections — and in percentage and in absolute value. He said that the formula is 70/70 (70% attendance and 70% of the votes for the winner) is the benchmark, but this does not mean that the elections will bring such a result.
Experts believe that to achieve this formula. At the same time, Slatinov said that the 70/70 formula “is something like “may decrees”, to them, of course, you need to go.”
Low turnout, according to political analysts, could be the result of voter apathy — unwillingness to go on elections, but there are several mechanisms to solve this problem. These include: the holding of regional referendums during the presidential campaign or the appearance of bright candidates. Zudin, a political analyst also believes that the possible combination of presidential election date from the third anniversary of the reunification of the Crimea with Russia could work to increase turnout and add to the atmosphere of elections the element of conviviality.
In any case, the experts indicate the priority, first and foremost, the agenda and intrigue in the electoral campaign, the latter could add just new candidates. Makarkin believes that “the mechanical expansion (number of candidates – ed.) what will cause a little”. In his opinion, a certain intrigue could add a part in the election of a candidate, which will have to wait, “what would he say such a thing.”
Experts also noted the risk of use of administrative resources. A source in the Kremlin administration said that all authorities in the field given clear instructions to ensure maximum transparency and purity of elections and to prevent abuses and manipulation.
However, according to Zlatanova, the problem for the Kremlin will be the “zeal of some regional friends”. According to him, the problem is that “many governors not imagine other methods of mobilization”, but to drive to the polls by force. In any case, says analyst Kuznetsov, the possibility of achieving a good turnout — it’s just a question of the General nature of the campaign itself, that is, “how candidates will be of interest to voters, how will the intrigue of the presidential elections.”