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2011年12月 7日 (水)

ロシア下院選 陰りうかがえるプーチン支配

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 7, 2011)
Putin's grip on power wanes as public discontent grows
ロシア下院選 陰りうかがえるプーチン支配(12月6日付・読売社説)

Results of Sunday's elections in Russia have shown in black and white the mounting public discontent with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who has dominated power for more than a decade.

The United Russia party led by Putin lost many seats in the State Duma, or the lower house.

The party fell far short of its goal of holding the two-thirds of the 450 seats--the number needed to revise the Russian Constitution--that it held before the election. It did no better than maintain a majority.

The largest opposition Communist Party, which has criticized growing income gaps and called for a fairer distribution of wealth, increased its preelection representation of 57 seats by more than 30 seats.

This indicates many voters who had become disillusioned with the government voted for the Communists.

The popularity of Putin, who is widely believed to be a shoo-in in next year's presidential election, seems to be on the wane.


Communist Party prevails

The lower house poll was the second since the Russian election system was changed to hold elections only through proportional representation. The new system was believed to be extremely advantageous for the ruling party because it has an extensive national network of organizations.

Political groups with fewer local chapters are not officially recognized as political parties and thus are not allowed to run in elections.

Nevertheless, the ruling party has suffered a setback. Putin admitted this "reflects the real situation" in Russia.  にもかかわらず、与党が不振だったことについて、プーチン氏は「今のロシアの現実を反映する」とコメントした。

The election result might have been unexpected, but he must accept it gravely.

After Putin was elected president in 2000, he served two terms spanning eight years. In 2008, he handed the presidency to Dmitry Medvedev and instead became prime minister to keep his grip on power.

Medvedev trumpeted slogans of establishing the rule of law and fostering high-tech industries, but he will leave office next spring without achieving anything significant.

Putin will have no strong rival in the presidential election scheduled for next March.

In fact, he still has strong support from many Russian people.

But if he has aspirations of holding on to the presidency in the long term, he will have to tackle a host of issues.


Corruption still rife

Corruption that has spread its tentacles to the furthest reaches of the bureaucracy has yet to be eradicated.

By forging close ties with the bureaucratic machine, United Russia appears to be monopolizing the nation's rights and interests.

Strong public dissatisfaction with this was a factor behind the ruling party's poor election showing.

The Russian economy has been unable to break away from its reliance on energy resources, so the country's revenue is largely influenced by fluctuations in crude oil prices.

Many Russians are worried the debt crisis roiling Europe--Moscow's biggest trading partner--will affect their country.

It is evident that Russia needs to implement political, economic and social reforms.

Putin will need to squarely deal with challenges that have been put off for years and produce tangible results.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 6, 2011)
(2011年12月6日01時11分  読売新聞)


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