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MOSCOW, February 8 (Itar-Tass) - On Wednesday the mission of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) begins monitoring Russian presidential election. The delegation comprising five parliamentarians who arrived in Moscow on Monday, is headed by the leader of United Left in the PACE Tiny Kox (the Netherlands). Other PACE delegation members are Tadeusz Iwinski (Poland), Andrea Rigoni (Italy), ·yvind Vaksdal (Norway) and Egidijus Vareikis (Lithuania).
A PACE official told Itar-Tass that “the main purpose of the trip will be the assessment of the electoral legislation and campaign in the run-up to the Russian presidential election in Russia scheduled for March 4.”
In the Russian capital observers plan to meet with the head of the Russian Central Election Commission (CEC), Vladimir Churov, State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin and Human Rights Commissioner Vladimir Lukin. The delegates will also exchange views on the election campaign with the presidential candidates, including those who were denied registration.
“The MPs are going to carefully analyse the situation in Russia regarding the observance of democratic freedoms,” the PACE said. “Our prime concern is the problem of the current election campaign’s conformity to the European standards.”
The main intrigue of the observers’ visit is to be their possible meeting with the Russian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin. “We look forward to meeting Putin and want to get maximum information from him,” Tiny Kox said at the winter session of the Assembly this January.
At the end of the visit the parliamentarians will hold a press conference on February 11.
The main PACE delegation comprising 30 people will visit Russia again in late February. The preliminary results of its work will be published the day after the presidential election. As many as 69 international observers have already started monitoring the presidential election campaign.