Moscow authorities think about the postponement of the municipal elections

Moscow authorities think about the postponement of the municipal elections

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During the municipal elections in Moscow. 2013

Photo: Sergey Bobylev/TASS

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The Moscow mayor’s office discussed the postponement of the municipal elections of 2017 in the spring, told RBC sources. It will not give the opposition the opportunity to overcome the municipal filter in the mayoral election in Moscow

City Council discussed the possibility of moving the municipal elections to be held in a single voting day in September 2017, at an earlier period. We are talking about the spring of 2017, told RBC two sources close to the presidential administration and a source close to the Moscow city hall. According to one source, the idea is being discussed at the level of Deputy mayor Anastasia Rakova, who oversees the capital structure of power of the political unit, and the leadership profile of the Department of territorial Executive authorities of Moscow. Final decisions about whether to move the campaign yet, emphasize the interlocutors RBC.

Previous municipal elections were held in the capital in one day with presidential elections in March 2012 amid mass protests. Later in Russia legislated that a single day of voting in regional and municipal elections instead of two times a year — in spring and autumn held once in September.

All municipal councils of Moscow was elected for a term of five years. The only exception was the municipal meeting of area Shchukino, whose powers are equal to four years. Elections in Shchukino passed this year in one day with elections in the state Duma and made an unpleasant surprise to the Moscow authorities: according to their results, the candidates from “United Russia” got only seven seats out of 15. And the head of the municipal Assembly was a Communist Andrey Grebennik.

A source close to the city authorities, says that city hall, completely absorbed in the parliamentary elections, almost followed the campaign in Shchukino, and when it became clear that United Russia did not receive a majority, it has caused serious discontent. “We decided that we should do everything possible to prevent this in the future,” says the interlocutor of RBC.

Transfer campaign would catch the opposition by surprise — this is the main reason why we discuss the possibility of an earlier start of the elections, say sources RBC. “It is obvious that the Communist party and “Yabloko”, and perhaps “Fair Russia” will hold negotiations on cooperation, support of those or other candidates. The September agreement is possible, if elections will take in March — no time, — says the interlocutor of RBC, close to the Kremlin. And the more deputies from the opposition, the more inconvenient for the municipality of initiatives they will contribute to the Moscow city Duma on the abolition of those paid Parking lots, for example. It is clear that the Moscow city Duma will such initiatives reject, but it’s still noise and scandals, and they are not wanted. The Prefecture is also not interested in having to “skip” opposition — less than her, the calmer”.

A source close to city hall, argues that “the preparations for the municipal elections began immediately after the Duma campaign”: “Prefecture are exploring the potential of possible candidates from the opposition, with an eye on elections, it starts work on regional issues.”

A source close to the Kremlin, said that the discussion of ideas and the transfer campaign going with an eye on the mayoral elections to be held in September 2018. The fewer deputies now hold in municipal councils, the opposition, the less her chances will be to overcome the municipal filter. And therefore will have to negotiate with the government what you do not want to do to anybody.

During the mayoral campaign in 2013, the government helped to overcome the municipal filter candidates from parliamentary parties and Yabloko, as well as Alexei Navalny, who was nominated by RPR-PARNAS and took second place.

Press Secretary of the mayor of Moscow Gulnara Penkova in response to the request of the RBC to comment on the possible postponement of the municipal elections stated that the city authorities “not to discuss such and no reason for no comments”.

The political scientist Alexander Fire said that from the legislative point of view there are two mechanisms of postponement of elections: early resignation of municipal councils, after which new elections or the revision of the boundaries of the municipal districts creation of new municipalities: “the Only realistic scenario is an early abdication of the councils. In most of them the Moscow government has enough votes. If you go this route, then the tips will have to disband at the end of December — early January, and early elections could be held under the accelerated procedure. As for potential municipal reform, I don’t see any indication that it was ready”.

Political analyst Nikolai Mironov, on the contrary, believes that the dissolution of the councils — too scandalous history and it is much more logical to reform IAS: “Propaganda on TV will be able to explain to people the need for this. And when you consider that voters don’t really know anything about municipal councils, then they won’t care”.

For the opposition, said Perhaps it is possible to transfer the election is disadvantageous, because it will not have time to prepare them: “And time is short, and after the just-concluded Federal campaign seriously drop the interest in the elections. By September of the same will not be the politicization of the urban agenda and the elections can be less controllable, in August-September generally easier to drive” campaign. The trend, according to experts, shows that next year the city authorities will make even more unpopular decisions, working on the agenda of the municipal elections — for example, the extension of paid Parking in residential areas, a new conflict town planning projects. “Local opposition it is important to hold the tips of the protest mood of the districts as many people as possible, to elect its chair and to make the initiative in the Moscow city Duma. Due to election to the municipalities by the opposition was to compensate for his actual absence in the Moscow city Duma”, — he said.

Municipal campaign, according to the Fire, important for the opposition and even the ability to “get the key to the passage of the municipal filter in the mayoral election in Moscow”, which requires one parliamentary signatures from 115 to 120 areas: “If the Communist party and Yabloko will conduct at least one person in most municipalities, it is evident that they overcome the filter. The Communist party is important not to depend on the “United Russia” for assistance with signatures of municipal deputies. If the Communists overcome the filter yourself, it will allow them to lead a more aggressive campaign on elections of the mayor”, — said the expert.

Agree with him Mironov: “the Communists in Moscow — the real political players. Other parliamentary parties, if tense, too, could spend a lot of deputies. Otherwise, at the election of the mayor will have to negotiate with the government, and who controls the municipal filter, that controls elections. The authority will register the one whom will consider necessary”.

Fire believes that, in General, rational political arguments for holding early municipal elections at city hall are missing, and therefore does not consider such a scenario realistic: “If this decision is made, the city authorities and United Russia will need to clearly explain to the public cause.”

Political analyst Vitaly Ivanov believes that it is possible to transfer the municipal elections is associated with the desire of the city hall “to minimize political risks, to anticipate the extension of the opposition’s representation in municipal councils”. “If increased representation of the opposition, there comes the risk of scandalization activities of the relevant authorities. Opposition is often elected in order to create a platform for other elections to the Moscow city Duma, for example; begins to throw the authorities of different letters, appeals, what I call “polerowanie”. If you have the opportunity to avoid it, then why not?” — summarizes the expert.

With the participation of Elizabeth Antonova