The Central Electoral Commission has finally paid attention to election fraud in Tatarstan after YABLOKO’s law suit in the Supreme Court of the RF
Press Release, 24.01.2017
The Central Election Commission of Russia (CEC) has decided to check the information on fraud in the parliamentary elections in Tatarstan only after YABLOKO challenged the inaction of the CEC in the Supreme Court of Russia. Today, after only a few days after the filing of YABLOKO’s claim, the CEC held a session of the working group, where Ella Pamfilova, head of the Central Electoral Commission, promised to conduct an inspection of the evidence of fraud submitted by YABLOKO.
YABLOKO activists examined videos from surveillance cameras at dozens of polling stations in the Republic of Tatarstan and came to the conclusion that the actual turnout of the parliamentary elections of September 18, 2016, at these polling stations did not coincided with the figures indicated in the final protocols. Also videos demonstrated ballot stuffing in a number of polling stations.
In November 2016, YABLOKO submitted the evidence to the CEC and demanded from the CEC to establish a joint working group to study the videos and submit the information on violations to the Investigative Committee, as well as apply to courts for a recount of votes at the polling stations with recorded violations. However, the CEC refused to examine the evidence of fraud and bring to justice members of electoral commissions guilty of fraud. In late December, YABLOKO received a letter from the Central Election Commission, which stated that there were no grounds for the adoption of additional measures on behalf of the CEC.
So, last week YABLOKO filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of Russia demanding that the Central Election Commission should to examine the November complaint of the party and take a remedial action. This complaint caused a wide resonance in the media, after which the CEC hastily assembled a working group and Ella Pamfilova assured YABLOKO that “nobody was going to cover any violations”.
“I think that public opinion played an important role here, and the Central Election Commission realised that one can neglect the situation in Tatarstan, so they changed their decision”, noted Nikolai Rybakov, Deputy Chair of YABLOKO, who represented the party’s position at a meeting of the working group.
He also added that YABLOKO activists continued checking video from polling station. When YABLOKO applied to the CEC in autumn, the activists completed examination of videos from 40 polling station, now their number amounts to 90.
The main complaint put forward by YABLOKO concerns the discrepancies in the turnout. There are much less people voting in the video, than the number of voters recorded in the final protocols by electoral commissions. The discrepancy figures fluctuates from hundreds to thousands people depending on the polling station. For example, the video from Polling Station No 89 in Kazan demonstrated that the number of actual voters should have been lower by 1,700 people, in contrast to the figure stated in the final protocol. Rybakov said that “getting such a massive discrepancy, the CEC had the opportunity to request the original voter lists, conduct handwriting analysis and check how it happened.”
Despite Ella Pamfilova’s promises to “analyse” the situation, YABLOKO will not withdraw its law suit from the Supreme Court of Russia and intends to achieve satisfaction of its demands.
Simultaneously with this law suit, Ruslan Zinatullin, Chairman of the regional branch of the YABLOKO in Tatarstan, applied to the Supreme Court of the Republic of Tatarstan with a demand to cancel the parliamentary election results in the Central Single-Mandate Constituency of Tatarstan where he ran for the Duma. Zinatullin asked to adduce videos from 60 polling stations to his law-suit and bring chairs of precinct electoral commissions as defendants. Judge Edward Kaminsky stated that the videos from the surveillance cameras did not constitute significant evidence in the case and thus could not affect the court’s decision. The suit was dismissed. However, YABLOKO intends to challenge the decision in a higher court.
YABLOKO did not recognise the results of the parliamentary elections of September 18, 2016 and challenged them in the Supreme Court of Russia.