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Putin calls for end to election rigging

Vladimir Putin has demanded to put an end to any attempts of "foul play" and rigging election results nationwide

MOSCOW, October 30. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin called to put an end to any attempts of "foul play" and rigging election results in the country, he said during an event timed to the 25th anniversary of the Russian electoral system.

"Nobody has the right to hinder the citizens’ right to free expression, to distort the position expressed during the voting," the Russian leader stressed. "Any unlawful intrusion of the election process, of the public and political life, any attempt of foul play in this area must be stopped decisively."

According to the president, the country’s electoral system is constantly improving. He added that the Russian electoral system has to "adapt to the growth of political culture, to the development of modern technologies, to meet society’s demands and expectations, to correspond to the level of its development and the readiness to take responsibility for the state of affairs in a settlement, a city, a region or in Russia as a whole." However, these changes must reinforce the principles of openness, fairness and transparency of the election process and its independency from any attempts at interference, both foreign and domestic, said Putin.

"The electoral system is only effective when people have trust in it and know that their voices will be heard," Putin added. "And of course, we must preserve this trust, we must respect and value the opinion and the position of our citizens."

"All changes to the electoral system have always been aimed at strengthening democratic institutes and expanding representation of the people in our political system," the Russian leader stressed.

Putin noted that in recent years, Russia has established a fully functioning legislative base for preparing and holding elections at various levels, which guarantees the electoral rights of Russian citizens. The Russian leader stated that in the last 25 years, there have been 14 electoral campaigns - seven presidential and seven parliamentary campaigns, as well as thousands of local elections.

"The election commissions have accumulated huge practical experience at all levels. I would like to state especially that elections are now in demand for our citizens, and are seen as a natural, necessary participation in the life of the state, not only as an indisputable right, but as a real influence on development of priorities for a city, a region, a settlement and the whole country," the president said. He thanked all members of central election commissions for their professionalism and responsibility.

The Russian leader reminded that the Russian constitution "was literally born in agony", during the beginning of the onslaught of terrorism, the civil war in the Caucasus and an acute domestic crisis, which led to many casualties. He stressed that the signing of the constitution has become "a milestone" and firmly established the country’s development as a free, sovereign and law-based state.

Work of election commissions members

Putin has commended the hard work of election commissions members, who have to work "in a glass house" during the elections.

"I know very well, I’ve seen the pressure that you [members of election commissions] face during election campaigns." "I have never seen people satisfied with election results, there are always disputes, often very intense ones," Putin noted.

The president added that members of election commissions are living "in a glass house" during the elections, under strict supervision of the public. "It’s not an easy story," he said.

Putin then addressed the members of election commissions. "A special responsibility rests on your shoulders, a special task. However, your work ensures the stability of public power, because only when citizens trust the formation of governmental institutions, we can expect that in the end, they will support the authorities’ actions in the interest of all Russian society and aimed at strengthening the Russian statehood.".