Russia is preparing not only for New Year holidays, but also for Presidential elections.
The potential main opponent of Vladimir Putin for the elections is the leader of the Communist Party Gennady Zyuganov. Today Zyuganov is under strong pressure of the media loyal to the authorities which say that his chances to win are scarce and he will resign from the Party leadership position soon. Zyuganov has not said if he will participate in the elections or not so far.
Recently he made a statement that the Communist Party would participate in the elections, and then the Communists started alternative counting of the Parliamentary elections results. However, they were not in luck because Central Electoral Committee has equipment counting the voting results which is much more powerful than Fair Game server the Communists have and therefore they have no time and capabilities to prove their statement that the elections were falsified.
Central Electoral Committee officially declared the elections of the deputies for the State Duma from December 7 to be valid. Then the meeting of Central Electoral Committee confirmed that three parties and one electoral block exceeded 5 percent vote limit for being granted the right to have deputies in Duma: Edinaya Rossiya (United Russia), Communist Party, Liberal Democratic Party and Rodina (Motherland) Block.
The alternative counting of the elections results will hardly be of use to anybody: neither to the Communists nor to the rightists. Anyone appealing to cancel the elections results will have failure in court. It is unclear who of the leftist opposition will support Zyuganov if he starts campaigning for Presidency. I doubt if he will, but we will see this after the nearest meeting of the Communist Party.
The rightist movement is in disorder as well: SPS (Union of Rightist Force) and Yabloko parties are thinking over whom to nominate the united candidate for the President from democratic movement. Co-chairman of SPS Irina Khakamada said all the parties and organizations constituted the democratic movement should have only one candidate for Presidency. She said currently the possible candidates are being considered by SPS party. There were rumors that the rightists conducted negotiations with President of Chuvashia Autonomous Republic Nikolai Fedorov and independent deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov. They both refused to run for Presidency, although a week before Ryzhkov did not oppose the idea so much. Probably, Ryzhkov’s refusal resulted from the disagreement of Yabloko leaders with nominating him candidate for Presidency. Ryzhkov has officially confirmed his refusal and said at the press-conference in the town of Barnaul that one of SPS leaders Boris Nemtsov offered him to run for Presidency as the united candidate from the democratic movement.
According to the deputy, he told Nemtsov that when campaigning for the Parliamentary elections he had no plans to run for Presidency. In addition, Ryzhkov would consider the offer of this kind to be serious only if both SPS and Yabloko parties make it.
Ryzhkov told that the congresses of both SPS and Yabloko will approximately be held on January 20. However, according to the electoral law, these parties which have no representatives in the Parliament will have to collect two million signatures for support of their candidate until January 28, which is hard to organize and finance. “If SPS and Yabloko could not elaborate the united candidate so far, they will not have such a candidate”, Ryzhkov said.
Leader of Yabloko Party Grigory Yavlinsky will hardly agree with this viewpoint. There is a probability that his negotiations with the leaders of SPS will result in their agreement to have him as the united candidate from the democrats for logical reasons – any new person is short of time to gain supporters, meanwhile Yabloko gained more votes during the Parliamentary elections and therefore will have the final word during the consultations between the two parties, the personal rating of Yavlinsky is higher than of any other representative of the democratic movement.
Meanwhile, supporting the candidate from Yabloko Party is not a good option for SPS even if this party has no its own candidate. “If SPS supports Yabloko’s candidate, this will result in serious dissent within the supporters of SPS”, Anatoly Makarkin said. “The problem is, SPS and Yabloko are different parties. “SPS is the PR project of politician Anatoly Chubais, and Yabloko is a club of like-minded persons”. According to experts, in case of losing its political authority Yabloko has chances to preserve itself as an organization of experts. If SPS refuses to participate in the Presidential elections, this party is likely to die out as political organization, expert of Carnegie Center Nikolai Petrov believes. He says “they will lose the chance to restore their power”. No expert gives prognoses in what form SPS will exist after the elections.