Golos on Duma Elections: far from being free and fair

Considering that, regardless of this year’s reduced coverage of polling stations by independent observers, there were still reports of individual acts of ballot box stuffing, “carousel voting,” voting under pressure, and other irregularities, it is evident that these strategies have not been rooted out and are still widely used. Overall, the elections of deputies of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation of the seventh convocation are far from being truly free and fair.

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Invitation to the Round Table “Electoral Authoritarianism in the OSCE Region - the Example of the Russian Federation“

Within the framework of the HDIM of OSCE participating States, EPDE is holding a side event on the topic “Electoral Authoritarianism in the OSCE Region - the Example of the Russian Federation“, which will take place on Friday, the 23rd of September, at 18.00-19.45 in the Meeting Room 2, Sofitel-Victoria Hotel, Krolewska Str. 11, Warsaw. This side event gives room for discussion whether the State Duma elections of September 18th 2016 again confirm this classification or whether a positive development towards more integrity, inclusiveness and transparency of the election process can be noticed. Key panelist of the round table will be Lilia Shibanova, Golos Movement,  Dmitry Oreshkin, “Narodnyi Izbirkom” project, Stanislav Andreichuk, Golos Movement,  Roman Udot, Golos Movement, Stefanie Schiffer, European Platform for Democratic Elections.

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Analitical report on the election campaign in the media, Parliamentary elections, Russian Federation, September 18, 2016

In contrast to the intense and lively campaign of 2011, the apathetic campaign of 2016 left no significant information trace. Although legislative changes were supposed to stimulate the media activities of non-parliamentary and small parties, this did not happen –“United Russia” totally dominated over other parties in both federal and regional media. The largest contributors to this outcome were the summer holidays and political passivity of many election “stakeholders.”  The chief new trends of the 2016 election year were thus: regionalization, the de-facto refusal of the ruling party to campaign on the federal level, and the “crowding out” of the non-parliamentary opposition to blogs and social networks.

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Analytical report on the agitation period, Parliamentary elections, Russian Federation, September 18, 2016

 The election campaign of 2016 showed that violations in election campaigning stem from the most diverse political forces and election participants. Among them are: lack of identification on campaign materials; improper placement of election campaign materials; procurement of campaign funding from sources other than election funds; placement of advertising in non-smoking areas; recruitment of children for campaigning activities; release of the so-called “black PR”; and others.

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Invitation to the public discussion "Russian elections to Duma - preparation for the Presidential elections?", September 21, 2016 in Berlin

European Platform for Democratic Elections and German Council on Foreign Affairs are holding a podium discussion on the topic "Russian elections to Duma - preparation for the Presidential elections?",  which will take place on September 21, 2016, from 12:30 till 14:00  in DGAP at Rauchstrasse 17/18, 10787 Berlin. Key panelists  Ilya Ponomarjow, member of the Russian Parliament in 2007-2016, Andrey Buzin, member of the Board of the Movement for Defence of Voters' Rights "Golos", Benjamin Bidder, journalist from the Spiegel Online, and Denis Volkov, Levada-Center, together with Stefan Meister will discuss of the results of the upcoming elections to the Russian Parliament.

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Parliamentary elections in Belarus did not meet a number of key international standards for democratic and free elections

The citizen observers inititive HUman RIghts Defenders for Free Elections critisize the lack of equal access to state media for all candidates, lack of impartiality of election commissions, facts of abuse of administrative resources in favor of the pro-government candidates, numerous facts of forcing voters to participate in early voting, non-transparency of some election day procedures.

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Belarus: Citizen election observers' conclusions on the conduct of the election campaign

In most regions, the conditions for campaigning were improved as compared to the previous elections. However, the candidates were not provided with equal rights; pro-government candidates enjoyed better conditions for campaigning: they made extensive use of the administrative resources, including electronic and print media.

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EMDS: Opinion on the proposed amendments to the Constitution of Azerbaijan and preparations to the Referendum

Оn 26 September 2016 Azerbaijan will hold a referendum which proposes to amend 29 articles of the Constitution. If adopted, it will result in strengthened executive branch with wide powers of the President at the expense of Parliament which will see its role as an important legal and political institution diminished. EMDS notes with regret that existence of political prisoners, including imprisoned journalists, human rights activists and political party members, as well as the situation of freedom of assembly, association and expression raises serious questions about democratic environment required for free and fair referendum.

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Russian Propaganda against Citizens' Election Observers from GOLOS-Movement

On Friday, August 26th - three weeks ahead of the elections to the State Duma - the Russian government-controlled TV channel NTV broadcasted a documentary "The Secret of Golos". This is already the fifth NTV report broadcasted in prime time which aims at discrediting citizens’ election observers in Russia. The film is based on materials filmed by hidden cameras and is a compilation of false accusations, outdated arguments and defamatory statements. The film has therefore to be assessed more as a product of pure political propaganda than as a piece of journalistic work.

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Parliamentary elections in Russia: Registration of political parties and candidates

74 parties had the formal right to nominate candidates for the election of deputies to the State Duma in 2016. However, only one-third of those parties attempted to take part in the 2016 State Duma elections because the Russian electoral system combines excessive demands on the number of signatures necessary for candidate registration with extremely rigid requirements for their inspection.

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