Kremlin critics to contest online voting in Duma election
MOSCOW (AP). — A coalition of politicians and activists have formed to contest results from the online vote in Moscow. They believe that it was rigged, and are responsible for their defeat.
Opposition candidate were largely exempted from the ballot ,. Marina Litvinovich (opposition politician) announced her intention to challenge the capital’s online election returns.
“On Sept. 17-19, millions of citizens of our country had their votes stolen. Litvinovich posted on Facebook that we, the candidates for the 8th Convocation of the State Duma, who represent different political forces have established a committee to abolish online voting.
The election results of Monday gave victory to the Kremlin’s United Russia party. It received 49.8% of the vote for the 225 seats apportioned by parties and won 198 out of 225 seats for lawmakers who are chosen directly by voters. The opposition denounced the results, pointing to individual Moscow races as evidence that there was tampering. The Kremlin-backed candidate in those races lost until online voting results, which were an option in Moscow and other regions, came in Monday. They suddenly jumped ahead.
Litvinovich stated that the unsuccessful candidates are trying to invalidate the results from online voting in Moscow, to ban online voting in future elections and to combat vote-rigging. The committee plans to hold a nationwide protest against election results, file lawsuits to challenge the results and draft legislation prohibiting online voting.
The coalition comprises candidates from several political parties, including the Communist Party and the Liberal Yabloko, both of which are the second-largest political forces in the parliament. New People was also formed last year, and is widely considered a Kremlin-sponsored initiative.
The Communist Party did not recognise the results of the Moscow vote, according to a senior member of the party and one of its leaders.
They all lost single-constituency races at Moscow’s polling stations, where almost 2 million votes were cast online. Many of the candidates were supported by the Smart voting strategy created by Alexei Navalny, an imprisoned opposition leader.
Navalny’s group hoped to weaken United Russia’s control in parliament through Smart Voting. This backed candidates with the highest chance of defeating those who were supported by the Kremlin. Authorities took a huge effort to stop the project. They also pressured Apple and Google to take down an app created by Navalny’s aides from their Russian online shops.
Another social media post by Navalny, which was relayed from prison by his lawyers, criticized “the almighty Big Tech” as turning into President Vladimir Putin’s “helpers” while blaming “the authoritarian thief” for subjugating the internet and turning it into an instrument to retain the grip of power .”
The election is widely believed to be part of Putin’s attempts to consolidate his power ahead of the parliamentary,
Smart Voting-endorsed candidates were ahead in at least half of Moscow’s 15 single-constituency races until the results of online voting came in on Monday afternoon.
Unlike other Russian regions, where voters could cast their ballots online, the Moscow election officials did not immediately release the results of online voting after Sunday’s close. There were fears that the online voting system would be compromised by the long delay.
Outrage erupted after online voting results in Moscow threw out all the races.
In the wake of the allegations of rigging, Alexey Vediktov, chief editor of Ekho Mosvky’s opposition-leaning radio station and head of Moscow’s Public Election Monitoring Headquarters, ordered that the online voting results be reexamined from Moscow. Venediktov stated Thursday that no traces of hacking and ballot-stuffing were detected.
However, critics from the Kremlin claimed that charts and graphs published by the Public Election Monitoring Headquarters to support its findings actually showed instances of ballot-stuffing.
Navalny’s top strategist Leonid Volkov urged candidates to continue fighting for their “victory” on Thursday.
” The results of fraudulent and unverifiable online voting in Moscow must all be invalidated. Votes must be retallied in St. Petersburg and other areas. Volkov stated that he supports peaceful protests that help to achieve this in a YouTube video.
“Candidates, parties and those whose victory was stolen must continue fighting. They will not be helped by anyone. Volkov stated that we will support them and that people who voted for them would support them.”
Separately, more than 500 poll workers and election monitors in Moscow signed an open letter to Venediktov, urging to invalidate the results of online voting in the Russian capital, denouncing it as a “rigging tool.”