MOSCOW, July 26 /TASS/. The Russian Central Electoral Commission, the Federal Assembly (parliament) and the Foreign Ministry have sent invitations to monitor parliamentary elections (to the Russian State Duma) to 89 countries, international organizations and embassies, Vasily Likhachev, a member of the Russian Central Electoral Commission in charge of international interaction, told TASS on Tuesday.
"[Invitations have been sent] to countries, international organizations and embassies - all in all 89 and the list is open," Likhachev said.
He clarified that the Duma had sent invitations to seven organizations. Ella Pamfilova, the head of the Russian Central Electoral Commission, has invited the ambassadors of 31 countries whom she met before. Likhachev said that most diplomats were from the EU states. "The Russian Foreign Ministry has sent invitations to the executive committees of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)," he added.
Besides, the Central Electoral Commission has sent invitations to its partners within the framework of bilateral cooperation and some international organizations, including the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), Likhachev said. The OSCE ODIHR is planning to send 80 long-term and 420 short-term observers to the forthcoming Duma elections though it is still unclear to what particular regions they will go.
Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin has sent invitations to the elections to Valentina Matvienko, the head of the Council of Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the CIS member states; Vladimir Andreichenko, the first vice-speaker of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union State of Belarus and Russia; Pyotr Ryabukhin, the executive secretary of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO); President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Christine Muttonen; Maja Gojkovic, president of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Parliamentary Assembly; Speaker of MERCOSUR parliament Jorge Taiana and Secretary-General of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy Ioannis Amanatidis.
Elections to the Russian State Duma will take place on September 18 according to a mixed system: 225 deputies will be elected on party tickets; 225 will be elected in one-seat constituencies.
On June 17, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on elections, which was published the same day. It marked the beginning of an official election campaign in Russia. Thirty-nine Russian regions will hold elections to local legislative assemblies on September 18. Senior officials will be elected in seven Russian regions by direct ballot. About 5,000 municipal campaigns will take place.