RUSSIAN FEDERATION
Parliamentary Chamber: Gossudarstvennaya Duma

ELECTIONS HELD IN 1995

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Chamber:
  Gossudarstvennaya Duma


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  17 December 1995


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats of the State Duma on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.


Background and outcome of elections:

  In December 1993, both Houses of the Federal Assembly had been elected for a transitory two-year term. In June 1995, a new Electoral Law was adopted. In the run-up to the 1995 poll, President of the Republic Boris Yeltsin and Parliament continued to disagree over whether the Upper House should be elected or appointed.

By the deadline of 22 October, a total of 43 parties had registered to contest the 225 proportional representation Duma seats. Some 2700 candidates (including over 1000 independents) also vied for the same number of majority seats. The most prominent groups in the running included the Communist Party, headed by Mr. G. Zyuganov; the Agrarian Party, an anti-reform rural bloc close to the communists and led by Mr. M. Lapshin; the pro-reform "Our Home is Russia" party of Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, founded in 1995; the equally pro-reform Yabloko (Apple) co-headed by Mr. G. Yavlinsky; and the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party led by the colourful V. Zhirinovsky. President Yeltsin, belonging to none of these parties and recuperating from health problems, stayed largely on the sidelines during the campaign which commenced in earnest in early November.

In the pre-election debate, Mr. Zyuganov stressed that, despite his party's commitment to limiting privatisation in the economic sector and holding a referendum on the restoration of the Soviet Union, there would be no return to old-style Soviet communism. In a televised address on 15 December, President Yeltsin appealed to voters not to "allow the forces of the past to seize power again".

On a polling day monitored by both domestic and international observers and marked by a decidedly larger turnout than in 1993, the Communist Party recorded big gains to emerge clearly as the dominant group in the Duma with 157 seats as "Our Home is Russia", though well-organised and financed, placed a distant second and only three other parties crossed the 5% threshold required for party-list representation. Analysts saw this particular surge as reflecting public displeasure with the economic and social upheavals that had followed the fall of the Soviet Union and, secondly, due to the splintering of pro-economic reform forces, especially the Russia's Democratic Choice group led by Mr. Y. Gaidar which had topped the outgoing Duma. As for ultranationalist parties, including the one co-led by the popular General A. Lebed, they fared less well than expected. Having triumphed, Mr. Zyuganov vowed to consult all his party's allies in the legislature and form a "people's patriotic coalition". Moreover, he identified the restoration of basic order and security, as well as public assistance to those most disadvantaged by the transition from a state-controlled economy, as the key priorities of the new government. For his part, President Yeltsin expressed optimism that the new Duma, which still included many advocates of free-market reforms, could work constructively.

Final results (minus those from the Chechen Republic, where polling was postponed) were released by the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) on 29 December. On this basis, the Council of Ministers was reshuffled in January 1996, although Mr. Chernomyrdin stayed on as Prime Minister. The newly elected Duma held its inaugural session on 16 January.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (17 December 1995): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 107,496,856
Voters 69,587,454 (64.73%)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 1,320,619
Valid votes 67,884,200

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group %
Communist Party 22.73
"Our Home is Russia" 10.33
Liberal Democratic Party 11.40
Yabloko 7.02
Agrarian Party 3.85
Russia’s Democratic Choice 3.94
Power to the People 1.64
Congress of Russian Communities 4.39
Women of Russia 4.70
Independents -
Other parties 30

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Proportional Majority
Communist Party 157 99 58
"Our Home is Russia" 55 45 10
Liberal Democratic Party 51 50 1
Yabloko 45 31 14
Agrarian Party 20 0 20
Russia’s Democratic Choice 9 0 9
Power to the People 9 0 9
Congress of Russian Communities 5 0 5
Women of Russia 3 0 3
Independents 77 0 77
Other parties 19 0 19

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 404
Women: 46

Distribution of seats according to age:  
Under 31 years 19
31-40 years 90
41-50 years 199
51-60 years 118
Over 60 years 24


Distribution of seats according to profession:

 
Representative branch 210
Industry 33
Science and education 33
Executive branch 28
Service sector 25
Local authorities 16
Military 6
Law and order bodies 5
Others 94


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Copyright 1995 Inter-Parliamentary Union