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CEC chairperson presented proposals to be submitted to the President and recommended 'to refrain from turning away from observers'

On 21-22 December 2016, the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Russia met with the chairmen of the regional election commissions. The CEC informed that the discussion was focused on the results of Election to the State Duma, drafting the work plan for the next year.

While opening the meeting, the chairwoman of Central Election Commission, Ella Pamfilova emphasized that the main purpose of the event was to identify the key work areas of election commissions of all levels and to improve their performance before the upcoming elections.

Ella Pamfilova drew attention to the urgency to complete the CEC investigation of violations that took place during the last elections and bring charges against the perpetrators. 'It is important to penalize not only the perpetrators of disclosed violations, but, first, those who impelled them to commit an offence’, - she said.

The chairperson of CEC explained in detail the package of proposals submitted to the President of Russia Vladimir Putin on December 19. The aim of proposals is to improve the current election law incorporating propositions of CEC, regional election commissions, as well as the recommendations of the scientific-practical conference held in November.

The document contains the following proposals:

  • to optimize the information about candidates (excluding data, which does not have impact on the candidate registration process), as well as to simplify the registration procedure;
  • to introduce less strict requirements for collection of voters’ signatures in support of nominated party-lists or candidates;
  • to authorize the CEC of Russia to withdraw the proposed candidates to the post of election official at regional election commissions in voting capacity (to introduce more effective interaction with election commissions at different levels and to oversee their compliance with the law);
  • to introduce substantial improvement over the mechanism of formation of precinct election commissions;
  • to feasibly introduce several legislative amendments to the regulations provisioning procedure of early voting held in the premises of precinct and territorial election commissions;
  • to amend several provisions concerning the election campaign;
  • to tighten legal liability for the electoral fraud and to ensure inevitability of liability;
  • to extend the time limit within which the election results can be challenged, to expand powers of higher-level election commissions in this regard;
  • to introduce preventive measures against the misuse of administrative resources;
  • to develop citizen election observation capabilities and specify the procedure for expulsion of election observers and other persons from a polling station, when a violation of the election law is acknowledged by court.

Ms. Pamfilova emphasized the urgency 'to refrain from turning away from election observers and, moreover, to build a relationship with them based on mutual responsibility for the openness and clarity of electoral procedures'. Moreover, the CEC chairwoman proposed to pay special attention to the better training of election commissions.