MOSCOW, 14 Aug — RIA Novosti. The municipal filter in Russia does not protect elections from “fake” candidates, and significantly restricts competition in the gubernatorial election and facilitates the registration of subtle opponents of regional leaders, according to the results of the report of the Committee of civil initiatives (CGI) to monitor the elections, which is available to RIA Novosti.
Earlier, the Deputy head of the Russian CEC Nikolai Bulaev said that the need to amend the municipal filter is, this rule will be reviewed, discussed various options, but even the staunchest opponents of this mechanism understand that it is a sensible start. The CEC head Ella Pamfilova said that the Central election Commission plans to discuss with experts the proposals for the adjustment of the municipal filter in August or early September.
Now candidates need to collect a certain percentage of signatures (in different regions from 5% to 10%), which should be a percentage of the total number of deputies of representative bodies of municipal areas and city districts and elected at elections of heads of municipal areas and city districts (from 5% to 10%). The signatures of the last candidate must receive not less than three quarters of municipal areas and urban districts of the region.
The effect of the “municipal filter”
The OIG’s report on the results of nomination and registration of candidates for the posts of heads of regions and their administrative centres. The researchers came to the conclusion that the preservation of the municipal filter leads to a significant restriction of competition in gubernatorial elections “actually makes it impossible to hold in most cases really alternative elections”.
“In its current form, the municipal filter does not protect elections from “fake” candidates, but rather leads to the fact that regional elites often contribute to check only conditional and subtle opponents of the existing chapters instead of the real competitors,” the report said.
Thus, according to the OIG, exceptions are possible in cases where the administration of the region “forced to agree to an informal admission to the polls of the real opponent of the Governor.” The reason, say experts, may be an act of goodwill, the informal influence of the Federal center or underestimation of the possibilities of the opponent.
Voluntary refusal from participation in the elections
According to researchers, the current strategy of registration of candidates contributes to the failure of a large part of voters from participation in elections (absentism), “which affects the very culture of civic participation”. So, as noted in the OIG, in almost all cases, the turnout in the elections of governors indicates a lower level than in the similar elections 1990-2000-ies, not combined with Federal.
“In addition to absentism alternative behavior protest-minded voters may also be voting for either technical or just weak electoral opponents of the current leaders. Such behavior can lead to increased results even hopeless and in reality are not ready to manage opposition candidates, allowing them to achieve levels of formal support, is impossible in conditions of higher political competition”, — stated in the material.
Refusal to participate in elections, experts say, and the candidates themselves. Situation in the OIG, is enhanced by various informal methods of influence on potential candidates and parties ready to push them. At the same time, the report notes, these techniques can have both positive (an attempt to create pre-election coalitions, the appointment of potential candidates from competitors in certain positions or bringing them to the Federation Council) and negative (violent pressure on the candidate or party associated in business with him, his relatives).
“Thus, we observed actual-restraint key opposition political parties in the nomination of the candidates for the posts of heads of regions. Not having own resources for overcoming the municipal filter, parties become more dependent on the regional power of the machine and try to nominate only candidates for registration which can be obtained signatures are loyal to the authorities of municipal deputies”, — stated in the document.
Thus, the conclusion in the OIG, to overcome municipal filter without the signatures of the deputies elected from the “United Russia” cannot neither party, except the Communist party, although she did not always do.