Russia’s ruling United Russia party, which supports President Vladimir Putin, has lost a slew of seats in the Moscow parliament, RIA news agency said on Monday, suggesting a tactical voting strategy pushed by opponents may have worked.
Sunday’s poll was one of the most closely watched local elections in years after the exclusion of many opposition candidates triggered the Russian capital’s biggest protests in nearly a decade.
Though local, the Moscow election was earmarked by prominent opposition politician Alexei Navalny and his allies as an opportunity to make inroads against United Russia ahead of a national parliamentary election in 2021.
Protests erupted in mid-July after the Central Election Commission refused to register many opposition candidates, saying they had failed to collect enough signatures from genuine backers.
The excluded candidates, including allies of Navalny, denounced the action as a ruse designed to stop them winning seats in Moscow’s parliament.
Navalny advised his supporters to vote tactically across Russia for the candidate with the best chance of defeating United Russia.