Observers register no violations in Duma poll, ministry reports election breaches

International observers monitoring Russia’s parliamentary elections seen as a crucial test for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his ruling party registered no violations during Sunday’s vote while the Interior Ministry reported hundreds of electoral breaches.

“The group of observers linked to the network of non-governmental organizations, including deputies of European parliament, national parliaments, experts and political scientists, has visited 48 polling stations in several Russian regions and so far our colleagues have no critical remarks, and everyone says that the process is very transparent,” said Mateusz Piskorski, an observer from Poland.

Piskorski, who is also head of the European Center of Geopolitical Analysis, said that no one obstructed the work of observers.

“They are communicating with members of electoral commissions at polling stations, with internal national observers and have not registered any violations and plan to visit more electoral districts,” he said.

In the meantime, Russia’s Interior Ministry has opened three criminal cases and drawn up 216 protocols on the breach of electoral legislation over the past twenty-four hours, the ministry’s press office said.

“From 09:00 a.m. on December 3 to 09:00 a.m. on December 4, the law-enforcement agencies received 555 complaints about the breach of the electoral legislation,” the press office said.

Russian voters went to the polls on Sunday in national legislative elections watched closely as a crucial test of the staying power of Putin and his United Russia party, the dominant political organization in the country in recent years.

Seven political parties are competing for representation in the Duma election but public opinion polls suggest that only four of them, United Russia, A Just Russia, the Communists and the Liberal Democratic Party, are expected to win enough support to get seats in the State Duma.

The 59-year-old Putin, who served two terms as president between 2000 and 2008, was nominated last month by United Russia as its candidate for presidential elections next March which he is widely regarded as almost certain to win regardless of the party’s performance in Sunday’s Duma vote.

Last month, he repeatedly called for United Russia to retain a majority in the Duma to facilitate smooth passage of government initiatives through parliament in view of current global economic turmoil.


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