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1996 Presidential Election

 

The force of Yeltsins personality and his skill in controlling people shaped the unique character of the Russian presidency. His conflicts with party politicians in parliament and his failure or reluctance to create a party of his own led him increasingly to see the presidency as standing above parties, and almost above politics. His presidency acquired an almost tsarlike quality, which was to have an important impact on the 1996 presidential election. His personal achievement in effecting his astonishing comeback in 1996 should not be underestimated. It will ensure his place in history books as one of the most resilient politicians of the late twentieth century. 

 

However, Yeltsin could hardly be said to have been elected on his record. His early popularity as a spokesman for a new Russia had long been overshadowed by the mistakes he had made, by the widespread disillusionment about the pace and the direction of reform, by the spread of corruption, and, above all, by the countless lives lost in Chechnya. Few people including those who had benefited from Yeltsins policies were truly happy to elect him for a second term.

Presidential Election, Second Round, July 1996

Candidates Percentage of votes
Boris Yeltsin 54.39
Gennady Zyuganov 40.73
Against all candidates 4.88

The presidential contest was close: Yeltsin failed to win enough votes in the first round to get elected, but in the second round he managed to beat his Communist rival.

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The Yeltsin Era

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