Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu are among dozens of members of the ruling United Russia party who will not take up the mandates they won during recent parliamentary elections.
The Central Election Commission said on September 29 that it has distributed among other candidates the mandates of a total of 66 members from the party who have refused to take up seats in the State Duma.
The refusal by Lavrov and Shoigu to not take up their mandates was not a surprise as their inclusion on the party list was widely seen as a way of boosting United Russia's popularity with high-profile candidates.
Others from United Russia who also gave up their parliamentary mandates include several regional governors; Vladimir Yakushev, the presidential envoy in the Urals Federal District, and Yury Trutnev, deputy prime minister and presidential envoy to the far Eastern Federal District.
Three candidates from the Communist Party, Novosibirsk Mayor Anatoly Lokot, Oryol regional Governor Andrei Klychkov, and the deputy chairman of the Moscow Regional Duma, Konstantin Cheremisov, also refused the mandates they won in the September 17-19 elections.
Of the 450 seats in the State Duma, United Russia won 324, which gives it a supermajority in the legislature allowing it to pass legislation unilaterally.
Some opposition parties and activists have called for the election results to be invalidated due to numerous violations and irregularities in the voting.
Many critics say the Kremlin carefully managed the elections from the start, with the opposition largely barred from running and a crackdown on government opponents that shows no sign of abating.
Despite the criticism, President Vladimir Putin declared on September 25 that the elections were "free and fair."
Lavrov, Shoigu Among Dozens Of Ruling United Russia Party Members To Refuse Mandates
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