Saxony – Moscow 2019: The relationship between the government and non-system opposition in the light of regional elections

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Author: Andrey Rumyantsev

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2020-1-57-80

Keywords: admission of candidates; constiutional complaint; elections; federal state; in dubio pro libertate; political opposition; regions


In the autumn of 2019, elections to legislative assemblies were held in several regions of both Russia and Germany. Election campaigns in two of them – the city of Moscow in Russia and the state of Saxony in Germany – were accompanied by major political scandals caused by the non-admission of the representatives of the non-system opposition to the elections. In Moscow, several individuals were denied registration as candidates in single-member electoral districts. In Saxony, the local electoral Commission registered only part of the list of candidates submitted by the non-system political party Alternative for Germany. In both regions, the opposition appealed the decisions of the electoral commissions to the courts, and in Moscow also to higher electoral commissions. In the Russian capital, only one initially rejected person managed to get registered – Sergey Mitrokhin, who later won in his constituency. In Saxony, the constitutional complaint of the Alternative was partially upheld by the Constitutional court of this land, which restored part of the list of candidates. To do this, the Court had to justify the right to examine such complaints, since the current constitutional and legislative regulation in Saxony only provides rules for appealing the results of already held elections to the Landtag. The author examines the situation in both countries, and comes to the conclusion, that these events show that as the electoral potential of the non-system opposition increases, so does the desire of the rulers to prevent this opposition from participating in the elections. The author also argues, that for this purpose, somewhat similar methods are used, for example, making (unfounded) claims regarding the technicalities in the electoral documents, submitted in order to be registered as candidates, or introducing politically motivated rules of administrative or criminal responsibility, which can mainly be applied to the followers or the supporters of the non-system opposition. Finally, the author concludes that the fundamental differences between Russia and Germany are in the role and nature of the political parties operating here. In Germany, parties are independent political actors, while in Russia their real significance remains questionable.

About the author: Andrey Rumyantsev – Dr. jur., Moscow, Russia.

Citation: Rumyantsev A. (2020) Saksoniya – Moskva 2019: otnosheniya mezhdu vlast'yu i vnesistemnoy oppozitsiey v svete regional'nykh vyborov [Saxony – Moscow 2019: the relationship between the government and non-system opposition in the light of regional elections]. Sravnitel'noe konstitu­tsionnoe obozrenie, vol.29, no.1, pp.57–80. (In Russian).


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About the author: Andrey Rumyantsev – Dr. jur. (Regensburg), Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the journal “Comparative constitutional review”, Moscow, Russia.