Plans Die for Duma Committee to Monitor Elections

Russian State Duma. Source: WikiCommonsThe Russian State Duma will not be getting its own electoral monitoring committee, according to the Vedomosti newspaper on Monday.

According to the article, Vladimir Pligin, chairman of the Duma Constitutional Legislation Committee and a member of the Kremlin-backed United Russia party, stated that it would be more advisable to create such a committee under the president.

A presidential electoral monitoring committee, Pligin says, would deal with the implementation of electoral legislation. It would include representatives of the presidential administration, members of the Central Elections Commission (TsIK), and representatives from various parliamentary parties.

An anonymous source in the Kremlin confirmed to Vedomosti that the presidential committee would mainly work to implement reforms proposed by President Dmitri Medvedev in his state of the union address on November 12, in hopes of meeting his deadline of April 2010. According to TsIK member Gennady Raykov, the TsIK itself has yet to receive any instructions concerning the reforms.

In response to complaints by the Communist Party over fraudulent elections in October, State Duma representative and United Russia member Boris Gryzlov had earlier proposed that an electoral monitoring committee be created in the State Duma. After two months of negotiations, no committee was created.

A presidential committee similar to the one described by Pligin was implemented in 2000, which, according to Communist party lawyer and Duma representative Vadim Solovyov, worked effectively. However, in his opinion, a State Duma committee would serve a different purpose: not only would it be able to implement amended legislation, but it could also refer alleged violations to the TsIK and the appropriate law enforcement agencies. “Gryzlov, in his innocence,” says Solovyov, “made the proposal; but United Russia simply got scared.”