Lawmaker dismisses allegations of illegal campaigning

ST PETERSBURG, August 16 (Itar-Tass) — State Duma lawmaker Oksana Dmitriyeva said she had the right to call for not voting for incumbent St.Petersburg governor Valentina Matviyenko at the municipal elections on Sunday. Dmitriyeva had made the calls on Echo Petersburg radio’s program.

“Under the Russian Constitution, any citizen who does not participate in the election campaign, has the right to campaigning without drawing financial resources,” Dmitryeva said, in comments on the request by the Krasnenkaya Rechka municipality’s election commission to the prosecutor general to strip her of lawmaker’s immunity.

On Monday, the election commission demanded that Prosecutor General Yuri Chika strip Dmitriyeva of her immunity in order to carry out an administrative probe against her.

A commission member said Dmitriyeva, on August 11, told Echo Petersburg to vote for certain candidates and not to vote for others. Such calls have signs of campaigning, in violation of the law on the main guarantees of electoral rights and the tight to participating in referendum, the commission member said.

Under the law, the persons occupying posts in civil service, are not allowed to campaign on television or radio channels, unless they are registered candidates at these elections.

Dmitriyeva is not a registered candidate with the Krasnenkaya Rechka municipality election commission. Stripping immunity from her is necessity for administrative investigation, according to the election commission.

Head of the committee on procedure under the State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament Otari Arshba underlined to Itar-Tass that stripping immunity comprises several stage. After the election commission forwards a letter to the Prosecutor Genera’s Office, the prosecutor general should investigate the case, secure evidence and come up with a presentation on stripping immunity.

After the lodging of the petition, it comes under review of the commission on mandates and lawmakers’ ethics, and if it regards the prosecutor’s reasons sufficient, the issue will be put up for voting at the lower chamber, Arshba said.

Incumbent Petersburg governor Valentina Matviyenko is a hopeful at the election to the Krasnenkaya Rechka municipal council. In the event of victory, she will have the opportunity to be delegated to the Federation Council, whose members already promised her the post of speaker.


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