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Russia’s CEC awaits observers from OSCE, CIS, SCO to watch presidential election

In 2016, 774 international observers from 63 states watched the election to State Duma

MOSCOW, January 2. /TASS/. Russia’s Central Election Commission expects that observers from international organizations, including the OSCE, CIS and SCO, will monitor the presidential election on March 18, Nikolai Levichev, a CEC member, said on Tuesday.

"We expect foreign and international observers from a wide range of international organizations to come. Among them are the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe], CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States, an assembly of post-Soviet states] and the SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organization]," Levichev said.

In 2016, 774 international observers from 63 states watched the election to State Duma, he said.

Russia "persistently meets electoral commitments within participation in CIS, the Council of Europe and OSCE, providing accessibility for international monitoring to the electoral process in general elections," Levichev said.

"It is a reliable international guarantee that Russia’s democratic elections are open and fair," he added.

Russia’s CEC is sending invitations to members of foreign electoral bodies and international professional associations to monitor federal elections. Besides, the State Duma (lower house of parliament), the Federation Council (upper house) along with the incumbent head of state have the right to invite observers.

CEC’ stance on observers

At the meeting, the CEC approved basic rules for observers from foreign countries and international agencies working at the presidential election on March 18. The document sets out observers’ rights and duties and introduces responsibility for legislation breaches.

The document reads that the authority of foreign or international observers begins when they are accredited by the Central Election Commission and terminates when the election results are officially published.

"In the light of recent statements by the US State Department and press service of the European Union, I must emphasize that observers need to act in compliance with provisions of Russia’s Constitution, federal laws, resolutions of Russia’s CEC, and generally recognized principles and norms of international law," Levichev said.

"It implies that they will perform their functions guided by the principles of political neutrality, impartiality, respect for Russia’s national sovereignty and refusal from any preferences," he added.

In the meantime, CEC Chair Ella Pamfilova said international observers have "unprecedented possibilities" in Russia unlike many countries "of so-called advanced democracy." The UK, France and Germany "do not implement OSCE recommendations, or just ignore them," she said.

"We give a clear-cut and prompt response to OSCE recommendations. They [observers] have the broadest possibilities," Pamfilova said.