MOSCOW, March 15, 17:47 /ITAR-TASS/. All members of the observation mission from the Federation Council, the upper house of Russian parliament, have received the accreditation from the Central Electoral Commission of Crimea (autonomy within Ukraine) and will monitor the referendum on its status on Sunday, March 16.
“We have received all the necessary documents. We are now working out a plan of assignments for our observers,” the Federation Council press service quoted Valery Ryazansky, who heads the observation mission, as saying on Saturday, March 15.
Vladimir Dzhabarov, chair of the Federation Council Commission for Monitoring the Situation in Ukraine and first deputy chair of the Federation Council Committee on International Relations, said “the main task of the observers is to monitor how the referendum is prepared and conducted.”
The Federation Council set up the observation mission in reply to the Crimean parliament’s request. The mission consists of nine members of the Federation Council, some of whom represent regions that border on Ukraine.
Ryazansky told ITAR-TASS earlier that the Federation Council observers would spread over Crimea in order to monitor as many local polling stations as possible.
There are 1,204 local electoral commissions and 27 territorial ones in Crimea. A total of 1,550,000 ballots (excluding Sevastopol) have been printed for the referendum. Polling stations will work on March 16 from 10 a.m. until midnight Moscow time.
The first results of Crimea’s referendum, in which its residents will have to decide whether they want to join Russia or stay within Ukraine, will be available on March 16 and the final results will be announced later, Crimean Minister of Information Dmitry Polonsky said.
He said one electoral commission would handle 1,000 ballots on the average. “I think we will see the first data, the quick ones when a commission counts, draws up a protocol and transmits [it] by telephone or electronic communication lines to the Central Electoral Commission, on the sixteenth,” the minister said.
The final results will be announced only after all official documents have been delivered to the Central Electoral Commission.
He believes that “we will get data, 90 percent reliable, before the end of the day on March 16.”
The referendum will be held on March 16. The decision was adopted by 49 of 50 MPs present at the session.
Two questions will be asked during the referendum:
1. Do you support Crimea’s reunification with Russia as its constituent member?
2. Do you support the restoration of the Constitution of the Republic of Crimea of 1992 and the status of Crimea as a part of Ukraine?
The ballots in Sevastopol will also include a question on its accession to Crimea as a city with a special status, he added.
Sevastopol’s City Council ruled on March 6, to hold a referendum on the city’s accession to Russia.