MOSCOW, March 3 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia’s presidential election campaign has drawn to a close. On Saturday midnight a day of silence began. All electioneering is prohibited. Such days are observed in various countries to let the voters take a pause to think and to make a conscious choice without any last-minute pressures.
Although the procedure is called “a day of silence”, in fact the period is nearly 48 hours long. It ends only after the last polling station in the country’s territory closes at 21:000 Moscow time on March 4.
The ban is not applicable to information activities by election commissions of different levels, empowered to urge the voters to cast their ballots and to explain the rules of voting and legal provisions. Most probably this time the election commissions will be making last minute explanations related to the use of web-cameras. The project for planting such equipment at all polling stations has been completed within record-tight deadlines and is unparalleled in the world.
According to the Central Election Commission, the last few election campaigns saw no serious violations on the day of silence. The worst problem is so-called cross-border broadcasting. Forecasts or results of exit-polls are aired ahead of time on the television and radio stations of other states, received in the territory of the country where the election is being held. Such situations are most frequent in Europe. Ways of resisting to this have been discussed more than once at various conferences by election organizers.
Russia’s CEC declared 100 percent readiness for the election on Friday. It promised to declare the preliminary results of the voting as soon as the morning of March 5. The law sets a ten-day deadline for declaring the final returns. As a rule, the Central Election Commission copes with this task ahead of time.
The presidential campaign began on November 26 and lasted for more than three months. There are five candidates for the presidency. This time the president is elected for a period of six years. The powers of State Duma members now last five years, so from now on the parliamentary and presidential elections will not constitute a continuous half-year election cycle.