With 65% after 20% counted, even 1.01 would have been a value bet
Medvedev will be youngest President, may win all 84 regions of the Federation
Now that voting has closed in Kaliningrad Oblast, the westernmost region of the Russian Federation’s 11 time zones, the exit polls have unsurprisingly proclaimed Dmitry Medvedev the winner by a landslide. Communist candidate Zyuganov is currently just below 20%, while Vladimir Zhirinovsky is at 12.5%.
Medvedev’s current vote share is some six points below Putin’s score in 2004, although the “first show” of his projected nationwide vote share was at 69%. For a time, the BBC World TV coverage showed the current result as 74% although this was clearly an error. Official results are here – knowledge of Russian may be helpful. There is an English section but it seems fairly empty at present.
So, with Medvedev about to become the new Russian President at the age of just 42 (only 6 months older than Teddy Sheringham!) but with Putin set to be almost certainly a very powerful Prime Minister, what does the election result mean for Russian and international politics? To what extent, if any, will the new President depart from his predecessor’s domestic and foreign policies?
And how long will it be before a Russian President doesn’t come from the Putin “line of succession”? It took the French Fifth Republic 23 years before there was a President from the Left, with the election of Mitterrand in 1981 – Russia looks set to take far longer to produce a leader from a different part of the political spectrum to the current rulers.
Finally, aside from Obama v Clinton, the next major international elections coming up are Spain, which votes next Sunday (Malta is a day earlier) and Italy, which goes to the polls on 13/14 April. My hunches are that Zapatero should win (if narrowly) a second term for the PSOE in Spain, while in Italy, where Walter Veltroni is now the standard-bearer for the centre-left (Prodi is stepping down), Berlusconi looks set to make a comeback and become PM for the third time.
Paul Maggs “Double Carpet”
Mike Smithson returns tomorrow