CAUCASIAN KNOT / NEWS
No foreign observers to watch elections in Chechnya and Ingushetia
Out of 350 foreign observers expected to supervise the elections to the State Duma of the Russian Federation on December 2, nobody will go to Chechnya and Ingushetia. Only five observers from the CIS member-states have expressed their intention to observe the elections in Dagestan.
Thus, Dagestan will be the only Republic of Northern Caucasus where the course of the elections will be watched by foreign observers. The "Moskovskiy Komsomolets" newspaper writes about it.
According to the paper, yesterday, on November 30, 106 foreign observers - representatives of Parliamentary Assemblies of the Council of Europe, OSCE and Northern Council - held a meeting in the State Duma with the head of the Central Electoral Commission and fraction leaders. The event was banned for the press for the first time.
At the meeting, Luke Van den Brande, head of the delegation of the PACE's special commission for observing the elections in Russia, expressed his concern with the facts known to him about violations in the course of the Russian pre-election campaign. In particular, he mentioned the ban of some democratic demonstrations and pressure on some candidates.
Vladimir Churov, Chairman of the Central Electoral Commission, stated, when answering observers' questions about violations in the course of the campaign, that all the revealed violations were corrected by the members of electoral commissions "within an hour." The Central Electoral Commission saw nothing surprising in the mass prevalence of billboards of one of parties in the streets, that was noted by foreign observers, the "Moskovskiy Komsomolets" writes.
According to the message of the IA "Rosbalt", during the meeting Luke Van den Brande also expressed his assumption that not all the parties that are taking part in the elections to the State Duma had equal access to mass media during their election campaigns.
"We see an obvious domination of the party that was headed by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin," Luke Van den Brande noted.
In reply to this, Chairman of the Central Electoral Commission Vladimir Churov stated that preferences in access to mass media were enjoyed by the four parties represented in the current Duma. Mr Churov referred to the data of the report of the Central Electoral Commission on monitoring the press.
We remind you that tomorrow, on December 2, 2007, Russia will hold elections to the State Duma of the Russian Federation of the fifth convocation. 11 political parties will fight for deputy mandates: Agrarian Party of Russia, Civil Force, Democratic Party of Russia, "Edinaya Rossiya" (United Russia), CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation), LDPR (Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia), Patriots of Russia, Party of Social Justice, Union of Right-Wing Forces, Fair Russia: Homeland. Pensioners. Life, and "Yabloko".
Along with elections to the State Duma, Chechnya will also hold a referendum on making changes in the Constitution of the Chechen Republic. It is planned to increase the terms in office of the President of Chechnya and Parliamentarians from four to five years and to make the Chechen Parliament one-chambered (currently, it comprises two chambers - the National Assembly and the Council of the Republic).
On December 2, Dagestan, apart from the elections to the Russian Parliament (i.e., the State Duma), will also hold elections of heads of municipal formations and deputies of local assemblies in several Districts.
See earlier reports: "Board of the "Memorial" Society has explained to its regional branches its attitude to State Duma elections."