MOSCOW, September 7 (Itar-Tass) - Saturday, September 7 is pre-election silence day in Russia. Voting is due on Sunday in most regions.
The election law bans any electioneering during the last twenty four hours before the polling stations open in the morning. The ban applies to rallies and statements by parties and candidates. Election posters and billboards may stay in place on the condition they are no nearer than 50 meters to the doors of polling stations, which will close at 20:00 local times.
The ban on electioneering on the eve of elections exists in many countries. Its purpose is to give voters a chance make up their mind without any last-minute pressures or prompts.
The only campaigning activity that is allowed on the polling day is that by election committees of different rank. Their representatives are free to call upon to the electorate to participate in the elections and to explain the legislative nuances and rules of voting.
What makes the just-ended election campaign special is the election date has changed. Whereas before municipal and regional elections were held twice a year - in March and October, from this year on they will take place once a year on the same day - the second Sunday of September. According to the election calendar, the most spectacular phase of the campaign, often accompanied by scandals, this time coincided with the summer lull in political activity and the holiday season.
Some election commissions have noted new tactics candidates have begun to resort to.
“There have been some new forms of campaigning. The Internet was used more actively than before,” the head of the Moscow election commission, Valentin Gorbunov, told the media on Friday. In his opinion, as experience shows, “electioneering in the Internet requires closer legal scrutiny.” In his opinion, the election campaign in Moscow proceeded within the legal framework by and large.”
The Central Election Commission, too, has offered positive comments.
“The electioneering was transparent. The participants were able to let their platforms known to the electorate,” CEC member Maya Grishina told ITAR-TASS.
“Of course, there have been some complaints during the election campaign period, but all of them were settled promptly and on site,” she said.
According to the Central Election Commission 80 of Russia’s 83 regions and territories will hold about 7,000 elections of various level. Eight territories and regions will elect their local heads. Moscow will be electing its mayor for the first time after a ten-year interval. Regional leaders will be elected in the Moscow Region, the Republic of Khakassia, the Trans-Baikal and Khabarovsk territories, the Vladimir and Magadan regions and also the Chukot autonomous district. The heads of Ingushetia and Dagestan will be elected by the local parliaments.
Regional parliaments will be elected in 16 territories of Russia - the republics of Bashkortostan, Buryatia, Kalmykia, Sakha (Yakutia), Khakassia, Chechnya, the Trans-Baikal Territory, and the Arkhangelsk, Vladimir, Ivanovo, Irkutsk, Kemerovo, Rostov, Smolensk, Ulyanovsk and Yaroslavl regions. Mayoral elections are due in eight administrative centres, and the elections of local representative bodies of power - in twelve capital cities.