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Gazeta.ru, March 11, 2004

YABLOKO challenges Duma election results in court

By Ilya Zhegulyov

The liberal YABLOKO party has filed 78 lawsuits contesting the results of last December's State Duma elections. The party wants the results in 170 of Russia's 225 constituencies annulled after independent observers detected over 430,000 violations in the work of the regional election commissions.

YABLOKO, along with another liberal party, the Union of Right-Wing Forces (SPS) failed to overcome the 5 per cent barrier required to enter the Duma on Decenber 7.

YABLOKO, in cooperation with the SPS, the Communist party, the Golos [Vote] Association, the ''2008: Free Choice'' committee and several other public organizations, also plans to file a complaint with the Supreme Court about the violations that occurred during last December's elections and the vote count that led to a ''violation of the Russian peoples' constitutional right to free elections'', Sergei Loktionov, YABLOKO's party spokesman told MOSNEWS.com on Wednesday.

According to the official results, YABLOKO secured only 4.3 per cent of the votes in the parliamentary elections. However, the communists, on completing their own alternative vote count, said in a special statement released earlier this year that Yavlinsky's party had actually cleared the 5 per cent barrier with 5.98 per cent of the vote. The communists then accused the authorities of numerous violations of the electoral law, but stopped short of taking the Central Election Commission (CEC) to court.

They saw no point in suing CEC, as they had secured at least some seats in the lower house, unlike YABLOKO or the SPS, Ilya Ponomaryov of the Communist Party told Gazeta.Ru. ''They are the ones who have really suffered, since they were barred from entering the Duma altogether. As regards the CPRF, our vote count has revealed only minor falsifications,'' Ponomaryov said. ''We said from the start they should go to court and provided them with all the necessary evidence to that end.''

However, Gazeta.Ru has learned that it was not the CPRF but the Golos association and the SPS who proved most helpful in preparing YABLOKO's lawsuits. In particular, Golos and the SPS each supplied YABLOKO with 2,000 protocols, drawn up by their observers during the elections.

According to Galina Mikhalyova, head of YABLOKO's analytical centre, most of the protocols drawn up by electoral officials in the regions contained numerous violations. In many cases the number of voters who cast their ballots did not coincide with the number of voters registered by independent observers, she said.

YABLOKO's spokesman Sergei Loktionov said that the 78 suits filed by YABLOKO on Wednesday were based on the data compiled after comparing 14,065 voting protocols received from observers with the ones received from local election commissions. He said that copies of the protocols would be submitted to the courts together with the lawsuits. The largest number of discrepancies between official protocols and those submitted by observers - 215 - came from Perm region, he said.



See also:

State Duma elections 2003

Gazeta.ru, March 11, 2004

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