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Utro.ru, December 8, 2003

Alternative vote count: YABLOKO and SPS make it into the Duma

By Asya Ryazanova

The election night can be called "Xmas night", as the Monday morning opened a new era in the life of the Russian state. We have received a "manageable democracy.” By the way we should clarify for ourselves the interpretation of this term, as the stress should be laid on the first part of this word combination. On night the number of violations, according to data from the election headquarters of different parties, far exceeded traditional levels.

The "democracy" became "managed" (we deliberately put each word in inverted commas here) much earlier. When the whole country watched spellbound, the leaders of the United Russia at television screens. It is reminiscent of the Strugatskis, isn’t it?. (Ed. Famous Russian authors of fiction novels, whose works contained latent criticism of the Soviet state, written in code to avoid censorship).

It seems that the United Russia did not even have to apply their traditional violations of election law to obtain the result they needed. The artillery preparation went great. That is why the central Electoral Commission represented by Alexander Veshnyakov could make long speeches on how "everything was fair". But (frankly speaking!) not everything was fair.

Maybe we should not compare the figures and numbers of electoral districts if we speak about the difference between this election and the previous one. One merely needs to look at the classification of violations which every person interested in the subject may get from the analytical services of the parties (maybe except for the United Russia party).

As in the past the electricity was cut in some electoral districts. Also the exit-polls were in some places mixed up with the enter-polls and voters were handed their election bulletins with the words "Here comes the bulletin for the United Russia, and here comes another one for Luzhkov" (Ed. The mayor of Moscow, also one of the top figures of the United Russia). Also the observers were refused to receive copies of the protocols of actual votes (and try to prove anything then). All this happened just as it had four years ago.

However, this night slight, almost statistical deviations, which are normally reflected in the picture of voting due to all these small tricks, played a cruel joke on the democratic camp.

Still we have half a day ahead and we can hope that a miracle may happen. But let us be honest to ourselves: Russia runs a far greater chance of obtaining a parliament without the habitual YABLOKO and SPS. However, these parties still might obtain the one per cent needed [to overcome the barrier]: or even have already obtained.

The CPRF headquarters have been independently counting the election results tonight. Since spring, the communist have been trying to push through the idea of the alternative counting of votes with the help of the party observers. On the threshold of the elections, the SPS and YABLOKO joined them with their own observers. The principle is clear: after the voting is over, the representatives of the parties should fix the data of the protocols and quickly forward them to the federal centre, where the information will be accumulated and totaled.

So the data from the CPRF (on the party web-site during the whole post-election night) demonstrate a picture which somewhat differs from that provided by the Central Electoral Commission, slightly, and not in the CPRF part, as one could presume, but in the part of YABLOKO and SPS. According to independent observers, these two parties obtained more than the required five per cent by at least 0.5 per cent. This is a small thing, but this changed the division of forces in the lower chamber of the Russian parliament in principle. How do you like this?


See also:

State Duma elections 2003

Utro.ru, December 8, 2003

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