MOSCOW, August 5. /TASS/. Chairperson of the Central Election Commission (CEC) Ella Pamfilova has expressed her deep regret over the decision made by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) not to send a mission of observers to the State Duma election and emphasized Russia’s interest in the international observation. She said this in response to the letter of ODIHR Director Matteo Mecacci in which he stated that the organization would be unable to send observers to the State Duma election in September.
"We were sincerely hoping that the mission would happen, that its participants would be able to fully appreciate the level and quality of the organization of the election in September," her letter said.
The chairperson shared her hope that the decision may be reconsidered taking into account the experience accumulated by the ODIHR in the format of limited and special observation missions. "Over the past two years, the ODIHR has accumulated a certain experience sending monitoring groups that were significantly reduced in the sanitary-epidemiological conditions to a number of countries, including the US, Poland, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Portugal, and the Netherlands. The ODIHR mission that was invited to Russia significantly surpasses [in number] the aforementioned groups," she noted.
She also informed the ODIHR director that "Russia sent invitations to send observers to the September elections to international and foreign organizations and institutions traditionally involved in such activities and a number of them have already confirmed their participation. The CEC chairperson noted that "equal conditions are created for everyone invited."
At the same time, she emphasized that if the ODIHR’s decision is final then "the vacated number of slots will be handed over to other international monitoring communities."
Legitimacy and transparency of the election
In her letter, the CEC chairperson confirmed that "Russia’s CEC invariably welcomes and appreciates the contribution of foreign observers in perfecting the electoral processes in our country."
She also asserted that "during the current election campaign in the country, Russia’s CEC will make every effort to ensure the transparency, credibility and legitimacy of the election based on the national legislation, its own regulations and international agreements signed by the Russian Federation, including those made with the OSCE."
On Wednesday, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said on its website that it would be unable to send observers to the State Duma elections "due to limitations imposed by Russian Federation authorities on the election observation." According to the ODIHR director, "the ability to independently determine the number of observers necessary for us to observe effectively and credibly is essential to all international observation."
The 8th State Duma elections are scheduled for September 19. The voting will stretch over three days: September 17, 18, and 19. Simultaneously, there will be direct elections for the heads of nine Russian regions (in three others, top executive officials will be elected by local legislatures) and 39 regional parliaments.