International Institute for Monitoring Democratic and Parliamentary Process
IPA CIS observers carry on the long-term monitoring of the election to the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation that will take place on 25 August 2016. The observer team that includes representatives of national parliaments of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and the Republic of Tajikistan held meetings with Chairperson of St. Petersburg Electoral Commission Viktor Pankevich, Deputy Chairperson of the Electoral Commission Nadezhda Lebedeva, and Commission Member with the casting vote Narghis Akhadova. Viktor Pankevich apprised the observers of the preparations for the election and paid special attention to the recent changes in the signature collection procedure and observation process on ballot stations. The Chairperson and the commission members also added that in St. Petersburg voters will be given 4 or 5 ballot papers, if the municipal voting is also taking place in the precinct, the maximum length of the ballot paper is 60 cm, 138 ballot station will be equipped with Ballot Paper Processing Systems, and the handouts will have QR codes.
The observers also attended precinct electoral commission # 8 (Peterhof district of St. Petersburg) and # 27 (Moskovskiy district of St. Petersburg). In Commision # 8 the observers got the detailed information about the Ballot Paper Processing Systems and trainings for the commission members. Commission # 27 arranged the meeting with the local government of Moskovskiy district of St. Petersburg; the observers also had a chance to visit a training session for the commission members.
On 25 August, the observers also had meetings with candidates representing Rodina party and Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF). Andrey Ivanov, who represents Rodina appreciated the work of the Central Electoral Commission of the Russian Federation and said that his party did not face any difficulties in the run-up for the election. Olga Khodunova, the First Secretary of CPRF, St. Petersburg branch, focused on some significant disadvantages in the electoral legislation, including mixed-member proportional representation.
The day before, the observers visited Novgorod Oblast where they had meetings with representative of the local government, members of the local electoral commission and heads of the regional branches of the political parties. Deputy Governor of Novgorod Oblast Vladimir Varfolomeev informed the observers about the measures taken to facilitate voting for disabled people. Nikolay Zakharov, the leader of the local branch of Patriots of Russia party highly appreciated the work of the local legislative administration and said that the current campaign was open and available for all participants.
Later in the afternoon, the observers visited Tosno region of Leningrad Oblast where they met the head of the local electoral commission.