Vladimir Putin and his political party United Russia have suffered big losses at local elections in Moscow. The party remains the most popular party in the capital, but has lost almost half of the seats, slashed from 40 to 25. The majority of the other seats will be shared by the Communist Party (14 seats) and Just Russia (4 seats).
These elections followed a summer of protests in the Russian capital in favour of Alexei Navalny, the opposition leader, whose candidates were not allowed to take part to elections. Alexei’s party would have probably obtained nine seats and this is why his participation in elections has been prevented.
Despite his exclusion, which probably caused the low voter turnout (only 5% at midday), Navalny committed to promoting United Russia’s strongest challengers, inviting people to cast their vote for them.
The decreasing number of seats of Putin’s party can be also linked to Moscow social situation. More than the hard political repression, it is the increasing poverty that made United Russia so unpopular, that all the candidates ran as nominal “independents” in an attempt to distance themselves from their party.
Putin must find a quick solution to this problem, since waves of protests are getting stronger and political repression doesn’t seem an effective answer anymore.