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Public Chamber receives nearly 300 complaints about violations during March 4 polls

March 05, 2012, 18:49 UTC+3
The Public Chamber’s call centre worked on March 4 for communication with the observers delegated to the polling stations by regional and federal public chambers
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MOSCOW, March 5 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian Public Chamber’s hotline  received 293 complaints about violations during the presidential election since March 3.

The Public Chamber’s call centre worked on March 4 for communication with the observers delegated to the polling stations by regional and federal public chambers. It received and processed 450 messages from regional observers during the two days of its operation.

Public Chamber First Deputy Secretary Mikhail Ostrovsky said “there were violations during the election that our members stopped”.

“In the Belgorod region, an observer was not let into the voting room. We contacted the chairman of the commission and explained to him that he must let him in,” he said.

But there were also “more serious violations”. In Vladivkavkaz, “all those wishing could vote at the railway station without absentee ballots”, Ostrovsky said.

“We have sent inquiries to the Central Election Commission and the Prosecutor General’s Office,” he added.

He believes that violations show that “there is something for territorial election commissions and the Central Election Commission to work on”.

“It is very important to take this experience into account because when the law on direct gubernatorial elections is passed, we will have to take part in voting on a regular basis,” he said.

On the whole, “the election passed in a rather calm situation”, Ostrovsky said.

“Naturally, the system of video monitoring played a role to make the election as transparent as possible and allow every person to show the actual figures with his own eyes, calculate and compare,” he said.

Observers from the regional public chambers said they had no complaints to make.

However, International observers from the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said that the March 4 presidential election in Russia complied with the international standards, but irregularities occurred all the same.

They said the election was not quite fair and noted that web cameras and transparent ballot boxes could not resolve mistrust in the election and its fairness.

The observers also stressed that members of local election commissions had not always adhered to the established procedures and ballots had been placed in ballot boxes unlawfully in several instances.

 

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