Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Russian presidential election, 2004
Presidential elections were held in the Russian Federation on March 14, 2004. Incumbent Vladimir Putin was seeking a second full four-year term. He was re-elected with more than 70% of the vote, over a field of little-known candidates. International observers were critical of the conduct of the election.
|Nikolay Kharitonov||Communist Party||9,440,860||13.7|
|Oleg Malyshkin||Liberal Democratic Party||1,394,070||2.0|
Candidates opposing Putin
Glazyev was considered a serious candidate. He is a former Minister for Foreign Trade under Boris Yeltsin, a Communist member of the State Duma and is now co-chair of the Motherland Bloc party, but his party did not support his candidacy, forcing him to set up his own party, called Motherland. He campaigned as a critic of economic reforms. He argued that post-Communist governments have ignored social justice and promised to improve welfare. But his 4% of the vote suggested that these criticisms were not enough to win support away from Putin.
Khakamada, the daughter of a Japanese Communist who took Soviet citizenship in the 1950s, was considered a serious candidate, and emerged as Putin's most outspoken critic. A member of the State Duma for eight years, she was defeated in 2003. She is a member of the Union of Right Forces, but did not run as a party candidate. "I am not afraid of the terrorists in power," she told the daily newspaper Kommersant. "Our children must grow up as free people. Dictatorship will not be accepted." With less than 4% of the vote, she did not poll as well as some commentators had expected.
Kharitonov was the candidate of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, although he is not actually a Party member. A former KGB colonel, he is a member of the Agrarian Party, a Communist Party ally. He was considered to be a "token" candidate, put forward after Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov declined to stand for a third time. Zyuganov is said to be quite happy to have Putin re-elected. His 13.7% of the vote was a better result than expected, showing that the Communist Party still has a substantial base of support.
Malyshkin, the candidate of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, was also considered to be a "token" candidate, and this was confirmed by his very low vote. Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who contested the last two presidential elections, chose not to run again. Malyshkin, a mining engineer, has been an LDPR member since 1991 and the head of security of Vladimir Zhirinovsky. He was elected to the State Duma in 2003.
Mironov is Speaker of the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament. He was not considered to be a serious candidate, and has been quoted as saying: "We all want Vladimir Putin to be the next president." His vote was also extremely low.
Criticisms of election
The observers, representing the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, cited what they called abuses of government resources, bias in the state media and instances of ballot stuffing on election day.
"The election process overall did not adequately reflect principles necessary for a healthy democratic election process," said the head of the Election Observer Mission, Julian Peel Yates. The observers' report said that the election "reflected a lack of a democratic culture, accountability and responsibility" in Russia.
However observers, representing the Commonwealth of Independent States, recognizedthe election as "free, democratic and fair". The head of the mission Yuriy Yarov assured that violations fixed during the mission didn't affect "free expression of the electors' will and result of the election".
Observers were also critical of the Russian media. Most of russian television is state-controlled and gave Putin substantially uncritical coverage (practically ignoring his challengers).
The so-called "administrative resource" was widely used to attract voters to the election(as an election with turnout less than 50% is invalid), including unlawful methods. E.g. free gifts were given to voters at polling stations, cheap food was being sold close by stations. Some state employees forced their subordinates to take part in the election.
In Chechnya official figures showed Putin receiving 92.34 per cent of the vote. The Moscow Times quoted election officials in the republic's capital, Grozny, as acknowledging that they had filled in several thousand ballots for Putin.
- OSCE mission Final Report (both English and Russian)
- International Discussion Club press release
- Voice Association for Protection of Voters Rights press releases (Russian)
Other web resources
- Election results, About electoral system, Current voting preferences
- Analytic article "Quod Erat Demonstrandum" (Russian)
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details