On Crucial Changes in Legislation Regarding Russian Presidential Elections of 2018 as Compared to Elections of 2012
The Russian presidential elections of 2018 will be held pursuant to legislation, which substantially differs from the laws that governed the previous elections of 2012. It should be noted that in 2012-2017, 15 changes were introduced to the Federal law “On elections of the President of the Russian Federation,” changing 59 out of 87 articles and all four appendices to this law.
Furthermore, a number of provisions of the Federal law “On the principal guarantees of electoral and referendum rights of the citizens of the Russian Federation,” relevant to the elections of the President of the Russian Federation, but not duplicated in the Federal law “On elections of the President of the Russian Federation,” have also been changed. This concerns the creation of electoral districts and district election commissions, as well as the deadlines for appealing voting returns and election results.
We believe that the changes have no single vector. The first amendment, introduced in May of 2012, which dramatically reduced the number of voter signatures required for the candidate’s registration, was aimed at democratization of elections. However, the greater part of amendments introduced in 2012-2016 seemed to follow opposite aims, bringing new restrictions on the right to be elected; additional restraints on candidate registration; constraints on election monitoring, and reduction of the periods for appealing voting returns and elections results.
The changes introduced in 2017 once again had a mostly democratic vector: guaranteeing the citizens that reside far from the place of their permanent registration an opportunity to vote as well as certain concessions on election monitoring restrictions.