NEWSWATCH: “How to Monitor Russia’s Next Election” – Moscow Times/Grigory Melkonyants (Golos)

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

 

“… The country, the composition of the Central Elections Commission (CEC) and electoral laws have all changed. … changing the rules ahead of every federal election has become something of a tradition in Russia. Golos has calculated that the authorities introduced 15 amendments to presidential election legislation between 2012 and 2017. In total, 59 out of the law’s 87 articles and all four appendices have been changed. … the number of signatures required from candidates from non-parliamentary parties and independent candidates has been lowered …. in what is an obvious attempt to prevent political opponents such as Alexei Navalny and Mikhail Khodorkovsky from entering the race, there is an excessively harsh policy that bars candidates with a criminal record from running for office for up to 15 years. The refusal to register them will likely damage the integrity of the election and could lead to unrest. … voter turnout is going to be an important indicator …. The turnout for State Duma elections fell sharply from 60 percent in 2011 to 48 percent in 2016 – reflecting either the electorate’s waning interest or less tinkering with the results. … authorities … will have to find unconventional ways of getting people to vote and observers will have to monitor those efforts closely for possible abuses. …”

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