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Russian diplomats, Public Chamber members to monitor US presidential election

October 27, 2012, 3:55 UTC+3

“The elections in the United States can hardly be called impeccable,” Lukashevich said

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MOSCOW, October 27 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian diplomats and members of Russia’s Public Chamber will be monitoring the presidential elections in the United States, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Friday.

“On November 6 Russian embassy diplomats in Washington and the staff of our general consulates in New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Houston will carry out monitoring of the voting process. A delegation of Russia’s Public Chamber and the Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights, democracy and rule of law, Konstantin Dolgov, will join in,” he stated.

“The elections in the United States can hardly be called impeccable from the standpoint of their compliance with the universally recognized criteria and standards,” Lukashevich said. “For instance, the US president is elected not directly but by the electoral college. The election process is too intricate, archaic and decentralized. OSCE ODIHR missions have pointed to that more than once. In a situation like that international monitoring of the elections is very appropriate.”

“The Russian side is prepared for active participation in this monitoring, through the OSCE ODIHR and on its own. Regrettably, both options involve great problems,” Lukashevich said. “For instance, our efforts for organizing full-fledged control of the voting by the OSCE ODIHR have failed to meet with the understanding of that organization’s leadership. This year the ODIHR made a decision without prior coordination with the member-states to dispatch a limited mission to the US. The main team of 13 members, and also 44 long-term observers. There is a Russian delegate in the main team.”

“The ODIHR has demonstrated double standards, precisely the way it did last year. To some countries – mostly, to the CIS member-states – it sends full format missions of 500-600 members or more, while in other countries, those west of Vienna, either no monitoring is done at all, or is conducted in a very limited way,” Lukashevich said.

“The ODIHR’s strange attitude to the monitoring of the US elections is balanced somewhat by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which is sending to the United States a large group of observers - over 100 members, including a dozen representatives from the State Duma and the Federation Council.

“The United States lacks a national system of accreditation of observers, and this poses great problems,” Lukashevich said. “There are legal provisions for the activity of monitoring missions only in four states – Missouri, South Dakota, North Dakota, New Mexico and also the District of Columbia. In all other states there are no legal regulations of election monitoring at all. The local authorities are free to act at their sole discretion.”

“That’s a direct violation of the basic Copenhagen Document of the CSCE, which furnishes the basis for international monitoring as such. Under that document all signatories pledged to invite international observers to national elections and, what is most important, to make this rule part and parcel of the national legislation,” Lukashevich said.

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