Documents

Election alert

Election Alert #6 - Trend against established parties. Candidates under undue pressure.

EPDE
Photo: dw.com

Last weekend’s regional and local elections in Russia represented a final rehearsal ahead of next year’s federal parliamentary elections. This was also the last election to be managed by the acting composition of the Russian Central Election Commission (CEC) and its chairperson, Ella Pamfilova, whose term in office is to expire in March next year. According to independent election observers, the elections displayed two strongly conflicting trends.

 

Election alert

Election Alert #5 - Unlevel playing field in regional and local elections

EPDE
Photo: news.sky.com

The regional and local elections scheduled on 13 September 2020 are to be the first major electoral campaign in Russia to take place following the passing of the Constitutional amendments and the introduction of the epidemiological restrictions. A total of 9071 campaigns are taking place incl. State Duma by-elections in four districts, elections of 18 regional heads (governors), 11 regional parliaments and 22 city councils in administrative centres. More than 78 thousand deputy mandates and elected positions are to be filled.

 

Local & regional elections

Pre-election campaign Russia Single Voting Day 2020

EPDE
Photo: edition.cnn.com

During the election campaign period, a level playing field for candidates has not been secured. Candidates who were supported by the authorities could also count on support from local authorities, courts, and electoral authorities and often did not have to face the restrictions associated with the Covid 19 pandemic when conducting their campaigns. State controlled media dominated the public sphere and manipulated public opinion in the mass media by obstructing opposition candidates and creating advantages for "administrative" candidates.

 

Local & regional elections

Legal aspects of the 13th September Russian Single Voting Day 2020

EPDE
Photo: edition.cnn.com

Analyzing the legal framework of the elections, domestic election experts conclude that the current legal conditions are the worst in the last 25 years. Recent changes to the electoral law on the federal level as well as short-term amendments to the regional election campaign regulations have been introduced to further restrict the electoral rights of citizens, limit the opportunities for citizen election observers and the overall public control over elections.

 

Local & regional elections

Summary of the nomination and registration of candidates for the 13th September 2020 elections

EPDE
Photo: edition.cnn.com

The analysis of the process of candidates’ registration in self-government elections shows an unproportionally high dropout rate of opposition candidates. In the main elections to regional parliaments and councils, parties supported by the authorities could nominate 98 % of their candidates, self-nominated candidates could register in over 60 % of cases, and parties without „administrative support” were rejected in almost 90% of cases.

 

Local & regional elections

Briefly about the course of the candidate registration SVD 2020

EPDE
Photo: edition.cnn.com

The main features of the 18 gubernatorial races held on the Single Voting Day were the restricted access for opposition candidates to the elections and the replacement of promising candidates by “technical” sparring-partners nominated by new “technical” parties which have been created with strong support of the authorities. Even candidates of parliamentary parties were massively excluded from gubernatorial elections, while candidates with low approval ratings from “United Russia” began to run as self-nominated candidates.

 

EPDE Publication

Dossier: Impact of COVID-19 on election processes in the EaP and Russia

EPDE

COVID-19 spread rapidly across the world in early 2020, with most governments instituting far-reaching pandemic mitigation measures, including nationwide lockdowns. This dossier compares the lockdown regimes and extraordinary measures taken in response to COVID-19 and how these have impacted election processes in the Eastern Partnership countries and the Russian Federation.

 

EPDE Publication

European politicians to legitimize constitutional changes in Russia

EPDE

Kremlin-friendly foreign politicians, journalists, lobbyists and activists have once again been invited to praise the disputed “all-Russian voting” on the constitutional amendments proposed by President Putin. The main motivation behind inviting foreign politically biased observers to the “voting”, which has no basis in Russian legislation, is to provide a semblance of international legitimacy to constitutional amendments that have already been approved by the Russian parliament.

 

Election alert

Election Alert #4 - How corona thwarts Putin's plan to change the constitution

EPDE
Photo: dw.com

The pandemic has interrupted Putin’s fast-track constitutional amendment project that would have allowed him to stay in power beyond 2024. An understanding that his popular support may be waning was likely behind the haste. What started as a fail-proof political project is now an uncertain race against a natural calamity. Whenever the vote will take place it will be happening in a post-crisis Russia and the government’s effectiveness in fighting the pandemic will surely be factored into the voters’ decisions.

 

EPDE Publication

Fake election observation as Russia's tool of election interference: The Case of AFRIC

EPDE

In this report, Anton Shekhovtsov analyzes how the structures of "Putin's Chef" Yevgeniy Prigozhin interfere in electoral processes in African countries with the help of fake election observation. This report focuses on the Association for Free Research and International Cooperation (AFRIC), an organization that Shekhovtsov has previously investigated and found to be involved in politically biased election observation and pro-Kremlin efforts, and is linked to Prigozhin. 

 

Election alert

Russia election alert #3

EPDE
Photo: dw.com

On January 20, 2020, the president of Russia submitted to the State Duma a draft law on amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation. To pass these amendments, authorities have also proposed to call an "all-Russian vote". These attempts to amend the constitution by calling such a vote instead of through existing legal procedures like a referendum raise serious concerns among Russian election experts about the legality of the constitutional change.

 

EPDE Publication

Foreign Observation of the Illegitimate Elections in South Ossetia and Abkhazia in 2019

EPDE

In Anton Shekhovtsov’s newest study, he analyzes how the presence of “foreign observers” during the “parliamentary elections” in the so-called “Republic of South Ossetia” and of the “presidential elections” in the so-called “Republic of Abkhazia” in 2019 was underpinned not by the actual need to observe the “elections”, but rather by the intent to mimic legitimate international election monitoring in order to create an impression that South Ossetia and Abkhazia were legitimate independent states. 

 

EPDE Publication

Comparative study on conditions for citizen election observation in the EU–EaP and Russia

EPDE

This comparative analysis by Tatyana Hilscher-Bogussevich of conditions for citizen election observers in the Eastern Neighborhood has found that Russia ranks the worst since there are no legal provisions allowing for civil society to be directly accredited as election observers. There is a similarly restrictive environment in Azerbaijan and Belarus. Other countries of the region rank better and generally facilitate citizen observation, however issues still remain. This study is a first in a series based on the newly launched Catalogue of Recommendations on Electoral Reform.

 

EPDE Publication

Controversial "International Observation" at the 2019 Regional elections in Russia

EPDE

In Anton Shekhovtsov’s newest study, he analyzes how Russian officials invited "international experts" with known involvement in various pro-Kremlin efforts to observe the regional elections in Moscow and how they were used by officials, pro-regime media and organizations to legitimize the electoral process and neutralize the negative effect of refusing to register independent opposition candidates for the elections to the Moscow City Duma.

 

Catalogue of recommendations on electoral reform

Analysis on conditions for citizen observation

EPDE

Analysis including recent reports and recommendations by citizen observer organizations, open source information, and the newly developed Catalogue of Recommendations. Overall findings: Conditions for election observation, both in legislation and in practice, and attitudes towards it vary considerably from country to country. An observed rise in politically-motivated domestic observation can be noted, seriously damaging any credible non-partisan election observation.

 

 
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