Kremlin loses in Russian regional elections
In Russia the gubernatorial elections have had an unexpected outcome: in Primorsky Krai the run-off vote was declared invalid due to electoral fraud, in Khakassia the encumbant threw in the towel after the first round, and in Khabarovsk and Vladimir the incumbents belonging to Putin's United Russia party trailed behind the challengers from the populist LDPR. A positive development?
Elections more interesting with two rounds
Echo of Moscow is delighted at the prospect of elections in Russia becoming interesting once more, even if the big picture remains the same:
“There we have it: the victory of the state candidates is not written in stone. ... Now even we in Moscow know who ran and how well they scored. And we weigh up their chances in full seriousness. ... But even if the ruling party loses in Khakassia, Khabarovsk or Vladimir, it's no miracle or a revolutionary change of mindset. Because this opposition only constitutes an opposition in formal terms, and its members are more or less play actors. And in any event it doesn't really matter who rules in one region or another as long as a certain person rules in the Kremlin. Nevertheless, with two rounds elections are certainly more interesting.”
From now on elections will be clean
Even the pro-Kremlin Izvestia sees a positive side to the affair:
“The good result achieved by the LDPR candidate [in Khabarovsk] underscores the need for a new approach and new faces in the regional administration, and confirms the correctness of the process of renewal that recently began in this country. What it signifies is that party allegiance no longer has any real importance. All the established parties represent a way for young people to become schooled in - and rise to - power. ... The second round of the 2018 elections will go down in Russian history. Its results - and more importantly the high priority given to fairness and transparency - must be taken note of by all regional leaders in their next campaigns.”