Russian political parties are now launching their regional electoral campaigns. Party projects will constitute a basis for the electoral competition of 2017.
Talking about United Russia’s project, it is about inaugurating a position of coordinator of party projects at federal and regional levels, working at so-called party project office. Up to date the party has carried out about 40 projects. Apart from closing ten dimensions, the party decided to merge some other in order to simplify its task. So, after the project optimization the ruling party has 25 projects remaining. Almost all of them are about real demands of people: “School of literate consumer”, “Urban environment”, “Healthy children”, “Local cultural center”, “Parks of small towns”, “Theatres of small towns”.
While United Russia is improving its communication with the civil society, parliamentary opposition is focused on choosing candidates to represent them at the gubernatorial elections. CPRF, LDPR and A Just Russia are likely to make a bid for single-mandate candidates who were successful at the parliamentary elections and for those elected by party lists who are already well-known in their regions.
These parties’ major goal is to win the runoff vote or come second at the elections in September. This, according to the parties’ representatives, will allow them to nominate their own candidates for senator from the executive body of the region. This will increase party’s federal weight in the eyes of voters. Final decision on candidates can be made at regional and federal party conferences in March-April 2017.
Professor of the National Research University “Higher School of Economics”, political expert Oleg Matveichev noticed that social, party and any agitation work should be continuous and permanent, since voters tend to immediately forget all achievements:
– At previous elections if governors won, it was mostly because parties were engaging in activities in the regions, the offices were working hard etc. If this work is abandoned now (as “everybody will win anyway”), reality will immediately jog our memory. The vacuum will be filled by someone else.
The case of the opposition is just the same: it may assume “anyway we have no chance to win” and decide “just to take part”. But if it “just takes part”, a party will get its 3% margin of error. And if it starts working, reminds of itself, this will be useful both for some regional projects and for federal issues.
Put it all together, effective politics is not only about working from campaign to campaign. It should be exercised permanently. A second protraction and you are forced out from the political arena.
Now, taking into account the probability of passing municipal filter, none of the opposition parties have chances even to enter a race. All of them will have to address to United Russia and ask it to help to collect necessary signatures etc.
Municipal filters were introduced in order to make parties work in the regions. There should be not only the highest ranks in Moscow, but nationwide parties present everywhere – from top to bottom. But they still avoid engaging in local elections.
And if opposition candidates will be allowed to participate in elections without collecting signatures, parliamentary opposition will have to choose: to do their best during the next electoral cycle or be left without their candidates for governors.