| MOSCOW, December 19 (Itar-Tass) - On Friday the Central
Electoral Commission of the Russian Federation officially summed up and
validated the results of the December 7th Duma elections. After thoroughly
checking the voting protocols of all the electoral commissions, including
district ones, it found that three parties and one electoral bloc had crossed
the 5-per cent hurdle, including United Russia, Communist Party of the
Russian Federation, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, and the Rodina
bloc. A total of 22.8 million votes, or 37.57 per cent, were cast for "United
Russia". This means it will have 120 seats in the Fourth Duma from
the Federal District alone, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation
-- 7.6 million votes, or 12.61 per cent (40 seats), the Liberal Democratic
Party of Russia - 6.9 millions, or 11.45 per cent (36 seats) and the"Rodina"
bloc - 5.5 millions, or 9.02 per cent (29 seats). In all 2.9 million people,
or 4.70 per cent, voted against everybody. In all 60.7 million voters,
or 55.75 per cent of those listed, came to the polling stations.
Moreover, Duma members were also elected in the 222 single-mandate constituencies.
The elections in three of them - Verkh-Isetsk No.162 of Sverdlovsk Region,
No.181 of Ulyanovsk and Eastern No.207 of St. Petersburg -- were ruled
invalid, as most of the votes were cast against all the candidates. New
elections will be held in these districts on March 14, 2004.
However, the quite ordinary job of summing up the results of the elections
was unexpectedly dragged out by the attempts of the Communist Party of
the Russian Federation and Yabloko to call into question the returns of
the voting. In addition, the communists posted a picket in protest opposite
the building of the Central Electoral Commission.
According to member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party
of Russia Ivan Melnikov, party members had checked 93 per cent of the
94,000 district electoral commissions. He claims there were "substantial
numeric discrepancies" in approximately 60,000 protocols. In addition
to their own party, the communists have also called in question the official
results of the voting for
the Union of Right-Wing Forces and Yabloko, as well as for the Cadets,
the Greens and the "Russia's Revival" party. Melnikov claims
that "technical errors were also found". Therefore, the Communist
Party believes that the results of the elections should be recounted.
Secretary of the Central Electoral Commission Olga Zastrozhnaya reported
that a complaint had also been received from the Yabloko party at the
very last minute. Yabloko also wants the results of the voting in the
entire federal district to be counted again. "The thorough verification",
which party leader Yavlinsky wants, is quite impossible, because the commission
has only three days to complete this task.
Chairman of the Central Electoral Commission Alexander Veshnyakov assessed
these demands as "an attempt to thwart the counting of the election
results". "The Central Electoral Commission", he added,
"has all the legally valid documents to sum up the official results".
He ruled out the
possibility of any "massive distortion" in the Federal District.
At the same time, Veshnyakov did not rule out "individual violations
at some polling stations". The results of the vote could be revised
there, he added. "It is most important that everybody, who tries
to doctor the results of the elections, bears proper responsibility, including
Hence, Veshnyakov called on the critics to "curb their emotions".
The Central Electoral Commission, he stressed, will look into each individual
case and "the verification will be continued even after the results
of the voting are summed up". There could have been some technical
faults and insignificant differences, "but they are of minimum significance",
he stressed. There are no grounds to call into question the results of
the elections, he stressed.
In addition to the claims of Communists and Yabloko, 318 other complaints
were received from regional electoral commissions. According to Olga Zastrozhnaya,
most of them came from Bashkortostan, Karachayevo-Cherkesia, Krasnodar
Territory, Astrakhan Region, and Moscow. They mainly criticised the crowded
conditions and poor technical equipment of voting stations, faults in
the voting registers. There were also complaints to the effect that monitors
were banned from voting stations or refused copies of voting protocols.
Furthermore, there were complaints that candidates, who had withdrawn
from the election race, were not crossed off the ballots.
Despite the debate during the commission's meeting, all members of the
Central Electoral Commission of the Russian Federation signed the protocol
on the results of the elections.
State Duma elections