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Russian election chief promises September polls will be ‘thoroughly transparent’

September 12, 2016, 13:39 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The election commission is sure the September election will be more transparent than in the past

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Early voting in Russia's Murmansk region

Early voting in Russia's Murmansk region

© Lev Fedoseev/TASS

MOSCOW, September 12. /TASS/. Russia’s Central Election Commission head Ella Pamfilova has guaranteed the maximum transparency of the upcoming September 18 polls to the State Duma and inevitable penalties for any ballot rigging.

"It would be irresponsible of me to claim that these are sterile, absolutely transparent and absolutely perfect elections. I’m sure of certain things: these elections will be more transparent than in the past, and they will be transparent to the utmost extent possible - I guarantee this," Pamfilova said in an interview with the Pozdnyakov program posted on the NTV television channel’s website on Monday.

"I hope and I even believe that most of my colleagues in the regions will do everything possible in earnest, as a matter of respect to themselves and most importantly to the country and the people, so that the elections are held in a way that we all do not feel ashamed by it. I can guarantee this," she added.

Pamfilova, Russia’s former human rights commissioner, acknowledged that there will always be "some violations and some irregularities." "The issue is how they might influence the vote. The fewer they are the better. I hope their numbers will be minimal," she added.

The election commission’s chief stressed that no violations, including those by unfair officials and heads of organizations, will be ignored. "The elections will be held and everyone will face responsibility…Punishment is inevitable for any falsifications that we find, and I can guarantee this," she said.

"We are ready to ensure the voting process and an adequate election count that would precisely reflect the expression of the people’s will," she stressed.

Elections to the 450-seat State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, will be held on September 18 under a mixed system: 225 lawmakers will be elected in one-seat constituencies and another 225 will be elected by party tickets. In addition to the State Duma elections, 39 regions will elect their legislative assemblies, while seven constituent regions will hold direct elections of their top officials. Municipal elections will be also held in about 5,000 constituencies.

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