Russian parliamentary deputies are currently considering a measure to restore the “against all” option on ballots in municipal, regional and parliamentary elections.
The measure is proposed by Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of the upper house of parliament and the highest-ranking female politician in Russia. Together with several senators she submitted the measure to the State Duma, the lower house of parliament. Matviyenko said at the beginning of the fall parliamentary session that the option would make the electoral process more democratic.
Members of the Communist Party and the Liberal Democratic Party have already opposed the measure, arguing that it would only benefit the ruling party, United Russia, of which Matviyenko is a member. The A Just Russia party has supported the initiative, but said that it should be implemented only with a minimum voter turnout. Many opposition leaders criticized the measure, saying that step was intended to steal protest votes from oppositional candidates.
The NOTA option was introduced in 1991 and never had much influence on results of any elections in Russia. However, its abolishment in 2006 was widely criticized as an undemocratic move.
Author: Julia Alieva