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CIS monitoring mission chief calls State Duma elections open, competitive

September 19, 12:55 UTC+3
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MOSCOW, September 19. /TASS/. The elections to Russia’s State Duma were held in accordance with the principles of democratic elections, the head of the monitoring mission of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) said on Monday.

"The elections were in line with the principles of carrying out democratic elections, they were open and competitive," Vladimir Garkun told reporters. "The Central Election Commission and other Russian agencies ensured the citizens’ right to free expression of the will."

"Certain shortcomings exposed by observers were not massive and could not affect the outcome of the voting," Garkun said. "The authorities created conditions for the free expression of will."

According to the official, Russia created all conditions for productive and comfortable work of international observers.

"All facilities and possibilities were offered to us, we saw no difficulties or restrictions anywhere. We had an access everywhere, where we could be present and contact with anyone we wanted to," he said.

The chief of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s observer mission, Rashid Alimov, has also noted that the election was legitimate.

Alimov said the elections were transparent and in full compliance with the rules of democratic elections.

"For our mission every condition had been created for monitoring and holding the election process," he said. "Electioneering was open and given detailed coverage in the mass media. Conditions for fair competition were created."

In particular, Alimov emphasized the favorable environment for political debates.

"Imagining something like this just two years ago was very hard," he said, adding that the voter turnout was rather high. Also he noted the competence of election commissions’ staff.

"The main conclusion that we made this is: the elections of State Duma members were in compliance with Russian legislation and international election standards," Alimov said. "The mission identified no violations of national legislation."

"We recognize the elections of Russia’s seventh State Duma as open, free and democratic," he declared. "The legitimacy is beyond doubt.".

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