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Russia’s Central Election Commission notes good prospects for relations with OSCE

February 10, 2017, 11:37 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The commission plans to encourage Europe’s international organizations to outline universal requirements for international observers who monitor elections

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© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, February 19. /TASS/. The Russian Central Election Commission has been able to improve cooperation with the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) during the first year of Ella Pamfilova’s tenure as Chairperson of Russia’s Central Election Commission, there are good prospects for developing relations with that international organization, commission member, Vasily Likhachev, said in an interview with TASS.

"After the election campaign to Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament -TASS), we have taken concrete steps to enhance mutual understanding and explain our stance. This is largely due to the top officials’ diplomacy, in particular, Ella Pamfilova,’ he said.

Likhachev noted though that, if senior officials at the OSCE and, particularly, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights "were less affected" by the Russophobic approaches, from a professional point of view, their work in Russia would have been far more effective."

He recalled that the Central Election Commission’s senior officials held a meeting with OSCE ODIHR head, Michael Link, in January, adding that Link and other representatives of this European organizations said they were ready to come to Russia to monitor the presidential election. "We discussed these geographical and quantitative discrepancies, when 500 observers are sent to monitor elections in Russia, while a minimal number or no observers at all are sent to the European Union member-countries. An example to this effect is the Baltic countries which have problems and violations. Everyone is aware of that, nevertheless, preferring to turn a blind eye to this issue," he emphasized.

"The level of mutual understanding has already grown within the first year the current Central Election Commission has been in office. We are ready to maintain and strengthen this trend. I believe that the prospects for meeting each other halfway to consolidate positions and develop some new ideas are real," Likhachev added.

Universal requirements for international observers

Russia’s Central Election Commission plans to encourage Europe’s international organizations to outline universal requirements for international observers who monitor elections, according to Likhachev.

The CEC members have been emphasizing the need to adopt a framework law for members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) regulating the activities of international and foreign observers, that could become a basis for national laws on election monitoring.

"There is a strong need for such document. The international observers’ experience gained in Russia proves that this is a pressing issue," Likhachev said.

He pointed out that in 2002, the CIS member states had drafted a relevant convention but had failed to promote this project on the European level.

"We plan to raise this question at different platforms, not only in the CIS Inter-parliamentary Assembly where countries agree on the matter, but also in the OSCE Inter-parliamentary Assembly, the Council of Europe and the parliamentary bodies of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)," Likhachev stressed.

According to him, it would be only logical "if the former Soviet states drew up their proposals concerning diplomatic efforts in this field." "This issue could also be raised with the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the oldest parliamentary organization in the world," the Russian Central Election Commission member concluded.

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