09 Sep, 2019

Yabloko wins its largest-ever fraction in Moscow City Duma elections

After the exclusion of many opposition candidates triggered the biggest protests in Moscow in nearly a decade and amid growing discontent with the government, local and regional elections took place in Russia on Sunday, in which all of ALDE Party member party Yabloko’s permitted candidates won seats in the Moscow Parliament.

In Moscow, more than seven million people were eligible to elect 45 lawmakers to the city parliament (Duma), which had been dominated by President Putin's ruling United Russia party. However in this election, its candidates instead ran as independent candidates to distance themselves from United Russia's plunging approval ratings and opposition candidates won 20 of the 45 seats.

According to preliminary data, all four Yabloko candidates to the Moscow City Duma - Sergei Mitrokhin, Yevgeny Bunimovich, Maxim Kruglov and Daria Besedina - won in their constituencies. If confirmed, this will be the largest ever Yabloko fraction in the Moscow City Duma, but as noted by one of the triumphant candidates on Twitter: “These weren’t real elections — lots of candidates who would clearly have won weren’t allowed to run”.

Speaking at an election night briefing, Grigory Yavlinsky, the leader of Yabloko, said the struggle for the release of political prisoners was among the priorities of the party faction in the new Moscow City Duma: “We see our task as the struggle for the release of political prisoners. There are many of them, they receive inadequate imprisonment terms, which have nothing to do with law, because there is not even a corpus delicti. These young people, whom they are now breaking their lives, are right, because the authorities have been rigging the elections for 25 years. A new generation has come who is tired of this, they will not put up with this.

Nikolai Rybakov, head of Yabloko election headquarters, described the Moscow City Duma campaign as “a real battle” and said: “in Moscow, we won the battle for the change in the country. We won against all those who represented the ruling party: United Russia, the Communists, the LDPR Party, despite all the dirt, counter-action and administrative resources [employed against opposition].” He noted that the party’s result in the elections to the Moscow city parliament was the best the party had achieved in these elections.

Emilia Slabunova, the chair of Yabloko, noted that Yabloko’s candidates were “precisely those deputies whom citizens wanted. [...] In Moscow, St. Petersburg and other regions of the country, our deputies are the people that every city, region and country as a whole needs so much now.

Yabloko election winners in Moscow: Sergei Mitrokhin, Yevgeny Bunimovich, Maxim Kruglov and Daria Besedina. https://t.co/lyPLrgqmhM

Read more:
Moscow’s election results: the opposition wins nearly half the City Duma seats, and United Russia’s local leader loses his seat (Meduza)
How a local vote rocked Russia: Moscow election caps summer of discontent (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

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