Lavrov, Shoigu among dozens of ruling United Russia party members refuse mandates

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu are among dozens of members of the ruling United Russia party who will not accept the terms they won in the last parliamentary elections.

The Central Election Commission says September 29 that he distributed among other candidates the mandates of a total of 66 party members who refused to sit in the State Duma.

Lavrov and Shoigu’s refusal to step aside came as no surprise, as their inclusion on the party list was widely seen as a way to bolster United Russia’s popularity with prominent candidates.

Others from United Russia who have also relinquished their parliamentary mandates include several regional governors; Vladimir Yakushev, Presidential Envoy in the Urals Federal District, and Yury Trutnev, Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Envoy in the Far Eastern Federal District.

Three Communist Party candidates, the mayor of Novosibirsk Anatoly Lokot, the regional governor of Orel Andrei Klychkov and the vice-chairman of the Moscow regional Duma, Konstantin Cheremisov, also refused the mandates they won in the elections of the September 17 to 19.

Of the 450 seats in the State Duma, United Russia won 324, giving it a qualified majority in the Legislative Assembly allowing it to pass laws unilaterally.

Some opposition parties and activists demanded the cancellation of the election results due to numerous violations and irregularities in the ballot.

Many critics say the Kremlin handled the elections carefully from the start, with the opposition largely barred from running and a crackdown on government opponents showing no signs of slowing down.

Despite criticism, President Vladimir Putin declared on September 25 that the elections were “free and fair”.

With report by TASS


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