Russians start voting in 3-day parliamentary elections
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu among candidates
Russians on Friday began voting in the parliamentary elections which will run through Sunday.
The voting started in the Far East regions of Kamchatka and Chukotka Autonomous Region in the morning.
The voting is expanded to three days as part of coronavirus measures.
In the capital Moscow, the polls opened in the morning hours.
Some 110 million people across the country and abroad are eligible to vote in the elections held every five years.
With 14 parties competing for 450 seats in the State Duma, the lower house of the parliament, only the MPs that pass the 5% threshold will win a seat.
President Vladimir Putin’s ruling party United Russia, which holds the majority, included remarkable names in its list as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu are also among the candidates.
It is uncertain yet whether Lavrov and Shoigu will hold their offices as ministers if they are elected as parliamentarians.
Parliamentary polls in federal regions
Meanwhile, there are elections in 12 federal regions, including the republics of Chechnya, Dagestan, Mordovia, and Tuva, for heads and governors, parliamentary polls in 39 regions, by-elections in 19 regions, parliamentary elections in the administrative centers of 11 regions, and local elections in five provinces.
The Central Election Commission of Russia announced that 250 observers from 55 countries and 10 international organizations would observe the elections.
Nevertheless, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) refused to send observers as the Central Election Commission of Russia had earlier announced that it would not approve the number of observers the OSCE wanted to send due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Remote electronic voting will be held in seven regions, including Moscow. The Kremlin said Putin could join online voting due to his self-isolation as part of the COVID-19 measures.
Allegations over barring of opposition candidates
The Russian elections have been criticized by the opposition which claims that a significant number of opposition and independent candidates were prevented from participating in the elections.
It is reported that the opposition may start protests across the country after the election results are announced.
Meanwhile, all the organizations affiliated with Russian opposition figure Aleksey Navalny, who is already imprisoned, had been added to the list of “foreign agents,” and blocked later.
The polls are also open in Sevastopol and Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
The Ukrainian administration, on the other hand, objects to Russia's elections in Crimea on the grounds that it violates international law.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.