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Friday, March 23, 2018

Regional elections: where this summer is to wait for the struggle for power

This summer the attention to regional policy on the part of the expert community will be raised, and understandably so: the country prepares for the General election. In the first place, in addition to regions, where gubernatorial elections, all interested in the territory with the potential for the growth of intra-elite conflict, as well as uncertain prospects of the gubernatorial election. Now under attack, are Primorsky Krai, Buryatia, Irkutsk oblast, Sverdlovsk oblast.

photo: Natalia Muslinkina

In Primorski Krai now there are campaign to city Council, including Vladivostok. The results of these campaigns will depend on the fate of the Governor Miklushevsky. Yes, now his team had perfectly conducted primaries across the province, but in the conditions of rigid competitive struggle of three factions: the authoritative businessman Vladimir Nikolaev and his sister, the Deputy of the State Duma, Victoria Nikolaeva; team of the mayor of Vladivostok Pushkarev, who is in jail, and the commands of the Governor Miklushevsky, – victory in the primaries does not guarantee the final victory.

There are at least two scenarios of the situation development. Candidates from Nikolaev can be put forward from LDPR or the Communist party. At the moment, several sources close to the leadership of the liberal democratic party, saying such negotiations. In this case candidates from “United Russia” across the far East can suddenly play the liberal democratic party. Why throughout the year, and not only in Vladivostok? Because more and more obvious to be possible gubernatorial ambitions of Victoria Nikolaeva, and, therefore, it is not a question of control over the city Duma of Vladivostok, and the question of passage of the municipal filter.

The second possible scenario is co-operation “Nikolaev” and “pushkarevskoe” candidates, followed by self-nomination and nomination from different parties.

Both the first and the second scenario threatens the Governor Miklushevsky complete loss of control over the region, and, most likely, the loss of the Governor’s seat in August – when will the results of the latest election opinion polls. To extinguish the fire before a single day of voting, in this case, is as yet unknown, acting Governor.

The situation is fundamentally different in Buryatia, where already appointed acting Alexey Tsydenov could lose to Communist Vyacheslav Marhaeva. The fact that, according to information from the environment Tzudenova, the latter has already managed to quarrel with the representatives of the power block of the Republic and the leaders of public opinion among the spiritual elite. In addition, during all the time of the race he was never able to become “his” for the regional authorities, while Markhayev long incorporated into the political life of Buryatia. Non-admission the same Marhaeva through the municipal filter will call into question the legitimacy of the elections throughout the region.

In case of defeat Tzudenova, the Federal center will have to provide the result of the presidential campaign, agreeing with the “red” Governor. Overall, the race in Buryatia promises to be the most interesting in this electoral cycle.

It is interesting to observe the political processes taking place in the Irkutsk region, where a major peak included the regional branch of “United Russia”. Recently at the Federal level occurred the scandal with the resignation of the mayor of Vikhorevka. I recall that he was removed from office, the Governor of Irkutsk region Sergey Levchenko. United Russia tried to appeal his dismissal in court, but didn’t play. The next round of confrontation between the ruling party and the Governor Levchenko will also be in court. The fact that the Irkutsk legislative Assembly failed to adopt a decision on holding a referendum on the return of direct mayoral elections in the region. Here the situation becomes quite heavy: the profile Committee of the State Duma recognized the question proposed by the Communists for a referendum legitimate. Thus, deputies of the Irkutsk region contradict his party colleagues in the state Duma. Now the question on the referendum will be decided in court. The next round of conflict is expected in September, when the legislature will consider in the third reading of the specific amendments to the Charter of region which, according to the regional Prosecutor’s office, contrary to the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

The fact that the last stronghold of the ruling party in the region – the legislative Assembly of the Irkutsk region managed to adopt in the first reading the bill is probably unconstitutional, and should reject the decision, approved by the relevant state Duma Committee, said the complete incapacity of the regional branch of “United Russia”. The ending of this story inevitably has to come in September, so as to entrust the preparation of the presidential elections dysfunctional team is unlikely someone dares.

The situation in Sverdlovsk region is similar to the situation in Buryatia: before the start of the race, many experts tipped the victory of Yevgeny Roizman, a potential candidate from the “Yabloko”, the mayor of Yekaterinburg. Unlike Buryatia, non-admission Roizman will face not only the full legitimization of elections, but mass protests. In turn, the mass protests in such a significant region in less than a year before the presidential election invalid. So now the presidential Administration must make the difficult decision: to allow Roizman before the election, and, consequently, with high probability, to prevent the emergence of the Governor-Yabloko or unacceptable Roizman before the election, and with it the credibility of the policy pursued by the Federal centre in the region. There is a third path: allow Roizman before the election and try to win his campaign, but given the contradictory nature of many of the solutions and the highest popularity Roizman in the region, chances to win in an open fight with the current Governor a bit.

Thus, the last election cycle before the presidential election, exposes and heightens all sluggish regional conflicts, makes any social conflicts potentially dangerous from a political point of view, and puts as a condition of providing the result of the presidential election an immediate solution to all the accumulated difficulties.


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