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State Duma permits citizens to complain against election results

January 21, 2014, 21:50 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, January 21, /ITAR-TASS/. The State Duma passed on Tuesday in the first reading the government bill on citizens’ right to make appeals, expressing disagreement with voting results in elections in Russia.

In accordance with the initiative worked out to fulfill the decision of the Constitutional Court, it is suggested that the fundamental legislation should be supplemented with the provision regulating the matters of complaining against decisions and actions violating the voting rights of citizens of the Russian Federation.

In this connection it is suggested to give voters the opportunity to turn to court to complain against the decisions of an elections commission on the election results. “The bill envisages amendments according to which a court of competent jurisdiction, on the basis of a voter’s appeal, can abrogate the decision of the district elections commission on the voting results at the polling station where the given voter participated in the election if the violations made interfere with reliably establishing the results of the voters’ will,” says the memo attached to the bill.

It is stipulated that if the court abrogates the commission’s decision on the election results, the voting returns will be found null and void. In this case the court may decide on a repeat vote count.

The statement on the abrogation of the decision of the elections commission or the commission of a referendum can be referred to court within ten days since the summing up of the election results and the statement on the abrogation of the decision on the results of an election or a referendum can be referred to court within three months since its official publication.

The Constitutional Court considered in April 2013 the complaint of human rights commissioner in the Russian Federation Vladimir Lukin, the Voronezh regional branch of the Just Russia party and a number of citizens from St Petersburg and the Voronezh region and found the norms of law regarding appeals unclear. It was, specifically, pointed out that in the legal practice they are regarded as not permitting a voter to question the election results, as it was impossible to prove the violation of the rights of a certain voter in defining the results of the secret ballot. The right to question the election results is given only to candidates and parties.

The Constitutional Court obliges the federal legislator to specify the conditions of complaining against the election results. “Pending due amendments, courts may not refuse voters’ petitions for the protection of citizens’ voting rights infringed in vote count and defining the election results at the polling station where the petitioners voted,” the court materials state.

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