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CIS observers for Russian presidential election start working in Russia

The mission will included about 300 observers

MOSCOW, February 19. /TASS/. Long-term observers for the Russian presidential election from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) have started working in Russia, head of the CIS observers’ mission Viktor Guminsky told reporters on Monday.

"The mission for observation of preparations and holding of the Russian presidential election has started operating today," he told after a meeting with Chairperson of the Russian Central Election Commission Ella Pamfilova.

Guminsky specified that the mission will included about 300 observers, 40 of whom will work on a long-term basis. The long-term observers will start working in Russia in the coming days, and the CIS mission’s headquarters has started operating in Russia to deal with organizational work and distribute observers over the regions.

The short-term observers will come to Russia two or three days ahead of the election due on March 18.

According to Guminsky, the long-term observers are mainly members of the CIS member states’ diplomatic missions.

The neutrality and non-intervention principles

Guminsky said that the CIS mission will work in Russia at the invitation of the Russian government and "the mission’s work will be legally based on the Convention on the Standards of Democratic Elections, Voting Rights and Freedoms" that was adopted in 2002 in Chisinau by the council of the CIS member states.

"In its work the mission will be based on the principles of political neutrality, non-intervention in the Russian election legislation and non-intervention in the state’s domestic affairs <...> When making the final statement, we will chiefly proceed from what our observers saw, from reliable facts and information received from heads of election commissions and other relevant bodies," he stressed.

The commission will include representatives from the CIS member states and bodies, such as the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly, the CIS Executive Committee, as well as representatives from the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union of Belarus and Russia.

The CIS observers will share results of their work at a news conference on March 19, Guminsky noted.

He reported that during their monitoring work the CIS observers will meet with heads of other missions, in particular with Jan Petersen, the head of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and Georg Link, the head of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s mission.

The Russian presidential election will be held on March 18.