The so-called municipal filter for the first time could become a serious problem for the incumbent governor. The head of Khakassia, Valentin Konovalov (KPRF), risks not getting into the September elections if he is not supported by representatives of other parties or independent municipal deputies: the signatures of the Communists alone will not be enough for him to register as a candidate. Representatives of the federal leadership of the Communist Party are sure that Mr. Konovalov will find the desired autographs. And if the incumbent governor is not allowed to vote, this will be a “disconcerting discredit” of the electoral system, the Communist Party warns.
The fact that the Communist Party of the Russian Federation in Khakassia does not have a sufficient number of municipalities to overcome the filter, Kommersant was told by the secretary of the republican committee for organizational and party work, deputy of the Supreme Council of the republic, Lyudmila Kaufman. “There are not enough deputies (with a party card. -“ Kommersant ”). However, there are quite a few deputies elected by self-nomination with the support of the Communist Party, as well as deputies and heads from other parties who are ready to vote for a candidate from the Communist Party, ”she immediately misspoke.
According to federal law, in order to register in the gubernatorial elections, a candidate must enlist the support of a certain percentage of the total number of municipal heads and deputies of the region. In Khakassia, the threshold is set at a maximum level of 10%.
In the last elections in 2018, the number of required signatures reached 126. Among them, there were to be 28 autographs from the “upper” level municipalities (from cities and districts), which, moreover, were supposed to represent three-quarters of such territories (10 out of 13 municipalities). What will be the filter for the elections in September 2023 is not yet known: the exact number of the electoral commissions of the republic will be determined in early June. But it is unlikely to change significantly, because the administrative structure of the region has not changed since then.
Five years ago, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation already experienced a shortage of signatures in the elections for the head of Khakassia. According to the experts of the “Voice” movement (included in the register of foreign agents), only 88 mundeps were in the ranks of the Communist Party at that time. True, the young communist Valentin Konovalov was not considered a real rival for the experienced United Russia governor Viktor Zimin, so the authorities helped him with the collection of autographs. In particular, deputies from United Russia (ER) spoke in support of Mr. Konovalov. As a result, the candidate from the Communist Party successfully passed the registration and won in the second round.
How many signatures are in the assets of Governor Konovalov this time, the Reskom prefer not to disclose.
The department’s website contains information about 25 deputies of the “upper” level, whose autographs will obviously not be enough. Nevertheless, the communists are not going to ask the party in power for help.
“In the previous elections, when passing the municipal filter, members of the United Russia also voted for Konovalov. In the current situation, most likely, we will manage on our own,” Lyudmila Kaufman told Kommersant.
United Russia members themselves are not yet eager to help Valentin Konovalov. As Kommersant was told in the Khakass branch of the EP, all the municipalities that are members and supporters of the party “have already been counted” according to their heads “”, but specific political guidelines will be brought to them after the return to the republic of the secretary of the regional department, State Duma deputy Sergei Sokol, who, is expected to become a candidate from United Russia in the election of the head of Khakassia. Now Mr. Sokol is taking part in a special operation in Ukraine.
It should be noted that Valentin Konovalov is the first opposition member since the return of direct gubernatorial elections to defeat a United Russia candidate and intends to run for a second term. Communist Sergei Levchenko, who became the head of the Irkutsk region in 2015, resigned in 2019. The Liberal Democrats who won the elections in 2018 did not serve until the end of their first term: Sergei Furgal (Khabarovsk Territory) was arrested in 2020, and Vladimir Sipyagin (Vladimir Region) moved to the State Duma in 2021. All other opposition leaders, including the Oryol communist governor Andrey Klychkov, who also plans to run for a second term, were elected from the position of acting heads appointed by the president, that is, with the open support of United Russia (in such situations, United Russia does not nominate its own candidate).
The federal leadership of the Communist Party is “virtually sure” that Valentin Konovalov will overcome the filter.
As Yury Afonin, the first deputy chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, told Kommersant, the head of Khakassia is gaining the total number of signatures, but is experiencing minor difficulties with the “upper” level: “Literally one municipality is not enough.”
Mr. Afonin recalled that in the last election, his fellow party member was supported by 58% of the voters (the second round was uncontested), so if now “at least they try to prevent him from going through the filter”, this will be “a discouraging discredit of the electoral system.”
We add that many oppositionists may have problems with the municipal filter in the fall of 2023. Kommersant polled representatives of parties in the regions where gubernatorial elections will be held in September, and only in the Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk and Tyumen regions did the communists express confidence that they would be able to collect the required number of signatures without third-party support. The Nizhny Novgorod branch of the LDPR and the Amur regional committee of the Communist Party are also hoping for a favorable outcome. All the other oppositionists interviewed by Kommersant frankly admitted that they themselves would not pass the municipal filter.