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ITAR-TASS, December 5, 2003

SPS, Yabloko and Communists to pool efforts to monitor voting

By Natalya Panshina

MOSCOW, December 4 (ITAR-TASS) -- Russia's right-wing parties, the SPS and Yabloko and the Communist Party have agreed to jointly monitor progress in the voting when Russia on Sunday, December 7 will be electing the lower house of parliament.

SPS faction member Boris Nadezhdin has said the three parties have already distributed among themselves practically all of the 94,000 polling stations.

The Communists, Yabloko and SPS had agreed to coordinate action late Thursday night. The idea was proposed by the Communists who warned about the risk of massive election rigging.

SPS and Yabloko have pointed out that this is not a political agreement, but a purely technical arrangement and a response to unprecedented administrative pressure locally.

"Each of the three parties would be able to monitor no more than half of the polling stations. Together we shall be able to keep an eye on 99 percent of the stations," Nadezhdin said.

The CEC chief Alexander Veshnyakov has welcomed the initiative by the three parties. He believes that extra observers at polling stations would not be redundant. In a long-distance conference earlier this week Veshnyakov strongly criticized local officials for trying to put pressure on the electoral commissions.

"Such splitters may undermine voter confidence in the electoral system, which would be impermissible," he said.


See also:

State Duma elections 2003

ITAR-TASS, December 5, 2003

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