MOSCOW, August 23. /TASS/ The OSCE Parliamentarian Assembly (OSCE PA) may send around 100 observers to monitor the State Duma elections scheduled for September 18, the mission will be headed by Italian representative Marietta Tidei, and the Deputy Head of Russia’s delegation to the OSCE Parliamentarian Assembly Nikolay Kovalyov told TASS.
He added that the invitation sent by State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin does not limit the number of observers. "The General Secretariat (of the OSCE Parliamentarian Assembly) in Copenhagen has received documents for about 100 observers so far", Kovalyov said. He added that "a joint package" of these documents will be put together and sent to Russia’s Central Electoral Commission for accreditation.
All the OSCE PA representatives will have the status of short-term observers, Kovalyov added. He explained that the OSCE Parliamentarian Assembly’s Honorary Chairman Ilkka Kanerva will supervise the observers on behalf of the OSCE PA and other organizations. "He is the special coordinator for the OSCE short-term observers", Kovalyov explained. "The Assembly’s bureau member and the second General Committee’s reporter, Italian representative Marietta Tidei will head the mission on behalf of the OSCE PA", the deputy head of the Russia delegation added.
According to the rules adopted at the Astana conference in 2008, all the OSCE PA observer missions’ members should arrive in the country no later than two days prior to the elections, to take part in the preparations, Kovalyov stipulated. Elections are usually held on Sunday so the preparations take place on Friday and Saturday, he added. "On Friday, meetings with the elections’ participants are held", the Russian delegation member said. "Right now they are drawing up the schedule, (after that) invitations, which will be sent to the heads and major members of the parliamentary groups and parties that will participate in the elections. Maybe some public organizations will also be invited to monitor the elections", the Russian MP postulated.
"A mission group usually consists of two or three observers, in exceptional cases the number may reach four", the Russian legislator explained. "The observers are sent to different regions, provided that they can arrive there in one day after departing from Moscow. It is suggested that the observers arrive at one of the voting stations from the list provided (by the OSCE Secretariat) for monitoring", he added. Kovalyov stated that it is yet unclear, which countries the OSCE PA observers will represent but there are no restrictions concerning that.
The State Duma elections will be held on September 18 in a mixed system: 225 members of parliament will be elected by party tickets, while other 225 are going to be elected in one-seat constituencies. On the same day, 39 Russian regions will elect their legislative assemblies, the direct elections of top officials will take place in seven regions. Besides that, around 5,000 municipal elections will also be held.