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Scandalous Election in Baltiysk: from Registration of Candidates up to the Election Day

Today, May 24, the early Election to the Baltiysk municipal district (Kaliningrad region) council of 4th convocation is held. 15 council members will be elected. The current head of the district Nikolai Plyugin is listed among the registered candidates.

The election campaign could be characterized as scandalous.  We would like to remind, how it was.

At the stage of nomination and registration of candidates half of nominees faced some problems. Baltiysk district election commission denied registration of 78 out of 142 candidates, including the two Communist Party candidates, the ‘Just Russia’ - six, the ‘Communists of Russia’ - six, the ‘Patriots of Russia’- three. Later, the number of ‘those who were denied registration’, based on the court decisions, has decreased to 75.

In late April, more than 70 candidates for council members submitted an open letter to the CEC chairman V. Churov requesting a collective meeting with the CEC deputy chairman Leonid Ivlev in order to clarify the electoral issues.

‘I have received a dozen of negative decisions issued by the commission. The documents reveal once again how easily any candidate can be denied registration, if there is an intention of those who run the commission to do this. Considering the decisions of the Baltiysk commission, the desire was so strong that their ‘teeth were creaking’. Otherwise it is impossible to explain the remarkable justification, indicated in all the decisions I have read’ – an expert on electoral legislation Andrei Buzin wrote in an article on the Election in Baltiysk.

On April 20, mass demonstrations were held against the actions of district election commission, which justified the rejection of candidates’ applications with minor bureaucratic reasons.

On April 27, 2015 at request of the chairman of Central Election Commission (CEC) Vladimir Churov, his deputy Leonid Ivlev  excersizing ‘emergency powers’ was sent to Kaliningrad region in order to identify the source of crime. Later Ivlev shared his opinion that the election commission members of Kaliningrad region should be considered  liable for the illegal decision issued by the municipal commission during the campaign for the Election to the Baltiysk district council.

Less than 20% of candidates who were illegitimately denied registration for the Election to the Baltiysk council finally succeeded in registration by the evening of April 29. By April 30, only 15 out of 78 candidates who were previously denied registration for the election to the Baltiysk regional council finally succeeded, according to the last update on Wednesday evening.

Some information emerged in media that the chairman of Baltiysk district election commission was on trial for abuse of authority and fabrication of criminal cases.

May 12, the media reported on the introduction of envelopes for early voting that could be easily unsealed.

A week before the Election Day the local press referred to the registration of the deceased persons on the electoral roll, in the name of whom some persons from the regional administrative center would vote.

18 May, 39 candidates voluntarily dropped out of the race. By May 13, 115 candidates were registered, on 24 May only 76 were specified on the CEC website.

4 days before the polling day - instead of required 30, - the council of Baltiysk region attempted under urgent procedure to establish new polling stations on ships that had to be set sail on the Election Day. However, it did not succeed.

‘Golos’ volunteers are engaged in election observation in Baltiysk. Please, find the Election Day timeline (ru) of what has happened at polling stations on the Election Day in Baltiysk, shared by the movement ‘Golos’.