LDPR leader says fair elections would enliven society

The leader of Russia's Liberal Democratic Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky (RIA Novosti / Ilya Pitalev)
The leader of Liberal-Democratic Party (LDPR), Vladimir Zhirinovsky has shared with Kommersant daily his view of the ideal presidential election scenario, saying that fair elections would cheer up Russian society, which is tired of politics.

According to Zhirinovsky, that tiredness is due to a lack of dynamism on the political stage. No matter how people vote in December’s parliamentary elections, the majority United Russia party will still win, he said in an interview with Kommersant which was published on Monday.

Nothing has changed since the Stagnation Era in the USSR, he noted. The communist stagnation has now been replaced by the same situation with United Russia and the team of politicians hailing from St Petersburg (President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, as well as many other prominent officials, were born and began their careers in the Northern capital.)

The only non-violent way to “cheer society up, is not only by declaring, but also holding free elections,” Zhirinovsky believes. If a fair vote was held, the LDPR would have a good chance of winning – along with the United Russia and the Communist Party. All the other parties would not even manage to get 4 percent of the vote.

Speaking about Putin's initiative, the recently created movement “Popular Front”, the LDPR leader said it might complicate his party's task at the upcoming State Duma elections, “but not too much”.

“For very clever people, the Front is a sign of United Russia's fall. I believe that the majority of voters will also come to the conclusion that United Russia has no future as a party, which – as the official version says – always wins,” he said. At the same time, the Popular Front might disorient citizens who are far from politics. Thanks to “unbridled propaganda, they will start thinking that the Front is something new and support it” during the elections. However, despite the different name, it would still be a vote for the United Russia.

The LDPR leader – who's also deputy speaker of the parliament – is confident that in the event that a fair election is held, his party and the Communists would get 30 per cent of the votes each, while United Russia would get 40 per cent. In that case, the LDPR hypothetically could unite with the Communist Party to create “a technical coalition” in the State Duma, without whose approval, not a single bill would be passed.

“The Kremlin shouldn't worry. We will support the majority of truly people [oriented] laws,” the politician assured.

The ruling party, lead by Prime Minister Putin, is the LDPR's “rival number one” in the upcoming election. It is followed by the Communist Party, Fair Russia, with the pro-business Right Cause party, which is currently being lead by billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, in fourth place.

The latter, according to Zhirinovsky, is the weakest link, thanks to the Prokhorov's involvement in the Courchevel scandal in 2007, and his subsequent purchase of the New Jersey Nets basketball team. It is also due to the party's “indecent promise to spend hundreds of million of dollars for the election campaign”, while under the law, the maximum amount allowed is 700 million rubles (about $25 million). Another point of criticism is their “blatant statement” that they are already a ruling party, even though they have no representatives in the State Duma. “But they will fail anyway,” Zhirinovsky believes.

The rich along with civil servants and some employees of a government-financed organization will vote for the United Russia. The LDPR supporters constitute the so-called “protest electorate”. And in this regard, the party's main rivals are the Communists.

“In the event of free elections, we and the Communist Party would get 20 million votes each. And that would impartially reflect the true mood within society,” the politician added.

Zhirinovsky thinks that “it is impossible for an opposition party” to win the elections. However, it is not only the ruling regime that is to be blamed.

“[Russia] will turn 1150 years old next year. In all these years, no opposition party has come to power through elections,” he recalled.

As for the presidential election on March 11 of next year, Zhirinovsky said the LDPR would fight for the country’s top job, no matter which of the two current leaders – Medvedev or Putin – ran for the post. However, a completely new president would be better for the country, he stated.

“People wait for new people,” he observed. He ideal scenario for the state would be if United Russia got 40 percent of the seats in the State Duma, and then anyone who wanted to run for the presidency – who is neither a member of the Kremlin team nor chosen by the current leadership – won the election.

There would be candidates from the Kremlin, from the LDPR, from the Communist party, Fair Russia and, also, someone “who has never been a president or a prime minister, nominated by [a force] which would manage to get 2 million signatures in support of their nominee”. It would be desirable for that fifth, new candidate to win, Zhirinovsky said.