Mikhail Gorbachev has become the latest prominent figure in Russia to call for this week’s election results to be scrapped. The former Soviet leader believes an entirely new ballot should be held to counter growing anger in the country about alleged voter intimidation and vote-rigging.
Thousands have rallied in Moscow and St. Petersburg over the past couple of days, calling for new elections. International observers and opposition parties allege that the vote was marred by stuffed ballot boxes, and there are claims that supposedly official figures showed the voter turnout to be over 100%.
The election results were not particularly good for Vladimir Putin’s ruling party, which dropped to less than 50%. Nevertheless, Putin remains very much in the driving seat and is still on course to return to the presidency early in 2012. He is unlikely to call new elections, but will probably be concerned at the increasingly vocal criticism of his government from domestic opponents.