The State Duma of the Russian Federation is the lower chamber of the Federal Assembly, the Russian parliament. The Duma has 450 members (deputies), each elected to a term of five years. Russian citizens at least 21 years old are eligible to run for the Duma. Under the electoral laws enacted in 2004, seats in the Duma are awarded on the basis of the percentage of election votes won by a party. The party then appoints candidates to fill its eligible seats. A party is required to win at least 7 percent of the vote in order to get seats in the Duma, provided that at least two parties win seats and the combined vote of these parties is more than 60 per cent of the total vote.
If the total vote for parties passing the 7 percent threshold is 60 percent or less, then parties with less than 7 percent of the total vote also win seats, in descending order according to their votes, until the total vote for parties winning seats exceeds 60 percent. If one party wins more than 60 percent of the vote, and the other parties less than 7 percent, then the party with the second highest number of votes also wins seats. Parties winning more than 5% but less than 6% get one seat each; parties with more than 6% but less than 7% get two seats each. These seats are allocated before distributing the remaining seats to parties passing the 7% threshold.
There is no minimum turnout for a valid election.
Only political parties registered as such under the parties law are allowed to put up candidates. The requirements for party registration are stringent, and include a minimum of 40,000 members, branches with at least 400 members in more than half the 83 regions of the Russian Federation and no less than 150 members in the remaining regional branches. The full list of registered parties is periodically updated by the Central Electoral Commission.
The latest State Duma elections took place on 18 September, 2016, having been brought forward from 4 December. United Russia, backed by President Vladimir Putin, won over 54% of ballots and 343 seats. The Communist Party and nationalist LDPR both secured just over 13%. The party A Just Russia gained just over 6% of the votes. Liberal opposition parties failed to get enough votes for party-list representation. The two main opposition parties allowed to field candidates, Yabloko and Parnas, received just 1.89% and 0.7% respectively.