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Moscow Times, December 4, 2003

Yabloko, SPS, Communists Team Up

Yabloko and the Union of Right Forces are teaming up with the Communists to monitor parliamentary elections Sunday in an effort to prevent possible vote rigging in favor of pro-Kremlin parties.

One or more observers from the three parties will be present at each of the country's 98,000 polling stations to look for any dirty tricks and watch ballot counting.

"Authoritarian tendencies are growing stronger in the country. An analysis of the election campaign shows that equal opportunities are not being provided to all candidates," the parties said in a statement.

Boris Nadezhdin, the deputy head of the Union of Right Forces, or SPS, said by telephone Wednesday that the agreement was needed to prevent mass falsification in the regions, where regional and local election officials, he said, will come under pressure from Kremlin-dependent administrations to deliver the best possible results for the pro-Kremlin United Russia party.

Nadezhdin signed a vote-monitoring agreement with Yabloko deputy head Sergei Ivanenko and Communist Party coordinator Sergei Reshulsky on Tuesday.

Ivanenko said the deal is purely technical and the three parties are still rivals in the race. "We do not consider this a political agreement, even though any step taken by a party several days before the elections is widely seen as a political move. The purpose of the agreement is to boost the efficiency of the work of observers," Ivanenko said by telephone.

He said Yabloko decided to work with SPS and the Community Party because it could only cover about a third of the polling stations on its own.

The agreement has been in the works for some time. In October, Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov said in an interview that the Communists were ready to join forces with other parties to monitor the vote. "We have 500 people nationwide and are ready to cooperate with Yabloko or any other party except United Russia," Zyuganov said.


See also:

the original at

State Duma elections 2003

Moscow Times, December 4, 2003

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