During the course of election campaigns at various levels our regional branches had experience signing agreements “For Fair Elections.” But each time such documents were initiated by the ruling party they led to fresh violations of the law, unbridled administrative pressure and violation of citizens’ rights.
The elections for the State Duma on December 4, 2011 were exceptionally foul. Administrative arbitrariness, manipulations and vote- rigging logically triggered an upsurge of mass discontent. True to its principles, the CPRF did not only voice protest, but put forward a package of proposals aimed at rectifying the situation.
At the State Duma our party proposed draft legislation to repair the electoral system. It envisages the formation of election commissions by parties on the basis of parity. It guarantees all the conditions for the work of observers and journalists at the polling stations, prompt and unobstructed access to copies of protocols with the voting returns. Alas, the United Russia majority at the Duma ignores our initiatives. The CPRF drafts are pending before parliament.
The authorities do not hear the demands of millions of people. They demonstrate a passionate desire to preserve faulty methods of government that citizens reject. V.Churov is still chairman of the Central Election Commission, a symbol of electoral fraud. The heads of Mordovia and Dagestan, Tambov and Saratrov are still people who organize large-scale falsifications.
The authorities have responded to all the constructive proposals by administrative arbitrary acts and tough censorship. This is particularly apparent on Channel One and NTV. The TV channels do not offer equal access to presidential candidates. Mr.Putin continues to evade open debate with opponents. He has never presented to society his electoral programme though hour-long films about him made in advance are run on television. News bulletins are also devoted largely to him.
Once again, as polling day approaches, manipulation of public opinion is mounting. The Kremlin spin doctors report sky-high approval ratings for the current prime minister. The heads of organizations are issued strict assignments to send their subordinates to take part in pro-government rallies. The owners of enterprises are expected to ensure that their employees vote for the “right” candidate. In a number of regions advertising companies are allowed to display only the banners of Putin and Prokhorov denying this opportunity to other presidential candidates.
Thus, the authorities do not exhibit any wish to organize fair elections. In this situation it is incumbent upon citizens to exhibit their will to uphold their constitutional rights. There is a growing need for public control over the election procedure on March 4.
The CPRF has prepared 300,000 observers to work at polling stations. We have worked out the interaction procedure on these issues with the LDPR and Just Russia. Special agreements have been signed with the Voters’ League and Rosvybory organizations. More than fifty trade unions, women’s and youth organizations and business entities have launched an appeal to support the CPRF candidate and take part in overseeing the course of voting.
The popular patriotic forces of Russia are in favour of fair elections. We will continue to work toward strict adherence to democratic norms during their holding. We are for constructive negotiations and agreements that ensure free expression of the citizens’ will. But we are against the signing of any documents that cover up large-scale violations of the electoral process.
Today, all of a sudden, United Russia has launched an initiative to sign an agreement for fair elections. We are very surprised by the attempt to impose on us a document that is not the result of a society-wide dialogue and inter-party negotiations, and has not been discussed at round tables in which the broad public takes part.
The proposal to sign an agreement under the auspices of the Ministry for Emergencies raises eyebrows. In fact the participants in the election campaign are being drawn into a collective violation of the legal ban on the use of executive power bodies in the interests of political parties.
Arrogance has gone to the heads of the representatives of the ruling party who attempt to divide the candidates for President of Russia into two categories: some must assume certain obligations while others are above any agreements and are not included in the group of parties to agreements.
The CPRF believes that a public contract aimed at ridding the elections of arbitrariness and chicanery is possible and necessary. But it cannot be concluded without joint work aimed at formulating its principles. Otherwise the agreement would become but a screen for fresh abuses. Besides, Vladimir Putin must be directly involved in signing such a document. He must declare that he is ready to be personally responsible for complying with the agreement on two grounds. First, as the leader of United Russia, still the ruling party that has the broadest possibilities. Secondly, as the head of the executive branch called upon to ensure that the elections are held in strict accordance with current legislation.
The polling day is two weeks away. But that means that there is still time to immediately enact new laws capable of creating a healthier electoral system in Russia. Only if these conditions are observed will the process of working out a fair elections agreement be not a travesty, but a real mechanism for improving the social and political situation.
Chairman of the CC CPRF,
Candidate for President of the Russian Federation