Russian elections body recommends annulment of Far East vote over violations

Russian elections body recommends annulment of Far East vote over violations Russia’s Central Elections Commission has advised to cancel the results of gubernatorial polls in Primorsky Krai Region and hold new voting in three months. Both frontrunners in the race are against the move.

On Wednesday all members of the commission unanimously voted to recommend the elections re-run in the region. The commission’s statement reads that in current situation and on the basis of protocols presented by regional elections authorities it is impossible to make any conclusions about the results of the voting.  

In particular, the members of the body agreed that it is impossible to determine the exact result of the campaign because for some time during the elections day all documents and protocols of the voting were left unattended in the offices of the regional elections commission.

The head of the Central Elections Commission, Ella Pamfilova, has expressed hope that the regional authorities would support the recommendation and quickly organize the re-run.

The advice to hold the elections in the Primorsky Krai Region anew was made soon after the second round of gubernatorial polls almost ended in a draw. Only full vote count revealed that incumbent governor – Andrey Tarasenko of the parliamentary majority United Russia – apparently outpaced his main competitor – Andrey Ishchenko of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation – by a very narrow margin.

The communist candidate almost immediately accused his competitor of violations and announced that he was going on hunger strike which, however, lasted less than 24 hours. The incumbent governor replied with similar accusations in the Communists’ address, claiming that that monitors had registered violations in favor of the Communist candidate in at least two cities of the region.

However, both candidates appear to be unhappy about the looming cancellation of the disputed vote. Tarasenko said in press comments that he did not plan to participate the re-run. Ishchenko described the advice as “absurd” and said that he did not agree with it because the governor had been elected in the runoff on Sunday.

Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday that the Kremlin supported the recommendation of the Central Elections Commission to hold new elections in the Primorsky Krai Region. Peskov reminded that President Putin had previously described the fairness of elections as top priority and noted that this applied to all sorts of polls in the country.

Previously Peskov has told reporters that Andrey Tarasenko would remain in the governor’s seat until he is either confirmed or replaced by someone else on the post by a vote.

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