Municipal Election Campaign Going On Across State
The headquarters of opposition candidates for municipal deputies report numerous violations of the election campaign
The chairman of the Yabloko party Emilia Slabunova sent letters to the chairman of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation, Ella Pamfilova, Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika, and the head of the Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin. The reason for the appeals was the facts of violations of the electoral rights of candidates for deputies of municipalities of St. Petersburg.
In her letters to the head of the CEC and the heads of two law enforcement agencies, Slabunova stated the facts of the illegal detention of Yabloko candidates for municipal deputies Fyodor Gorozhanko and Polina Kostyleva by police officers. According to the chairman of Yabloko, there is a violation of article 141 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“Obstruction of the exercise of voting rights”), in connection with which Emilia Slabunova demands to initiate a criminal case.
Similar statements were sent by the head of the Yabloko faction in the City Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg Boris Vishnevsky.
In turn, the St. Petersburg police explain the actions of their employees by the fact that the candidates from Yabloko received statements of “petty hooliganism”.
“Italian strike” of employees of municipal commissions
The mentioned episode is just one of many similar cases recorded by representatives of the St. Petersburg Observers public organization, the local headquarters of Alexei Navalny and the United Democrats coalition. On July 2, they held a press conference, at which they cited the most widespread facts of violation of electoral rights in recent weeks. So, the election commissions of municipal associations (IKMO) in a number of cases simply hide from the population the date of the scheduled elections – September 8 of the current year, on a single voting day.
In addition: artificial queues are created from dummy candidates who are not really going to run. Their only goal is to make it as difficult as possible or not to allow the registration of candidates at all, if they are not nominated by United Russia. Further: the municipal election commissions, under far-fetched pretexts, do not accept documents from those who nevertheless managed to wait for their turn. To do this, they retroactively approve extended lists of documents, invalidate signatures in support of candidates, and sometimes (as in the case of Gorozhanko and Kostyleva) call the police.
Some independent candidates are subjected to physical violence, which is recorded by medical institutions. It also happens that IKMO, without explaining the reasons, stops working or does not work according to schedule.
The head of the St. Petersburg branch of A Just Russia Marina Shishkina noted that in most municipalities the announcement of the date of the upcoming elections came as a real surprise to voters. And to the listed facts of violations, she added the “Italian strike” of members of the IKMO. “For a week and a half, such election commissions managed to accept two applications during the whole working day,” Shishkina cited as an example..
The coordinator of the United Democrats, Andrei Pivovarov, called the daily reports of regular violations “reports from the fronts.” “When I was driving here, I heard that the CEC reacted to the course of the municipal campaign in St. Petersburg as if no significant violations were visible. I want to say that compared to 2014, these elections are much dirtier, ”Pivovarov said. And he added that the United Democrats also intend to demand the initiation of criminal cases against the leaders of the most odious IKMOs, and that a corresponding complaint will be submitted to the Investigative Committee.
But the United Democrats’ coordinator considers a media campaign to be the most effective tool. “The more you write about violations, the more difficult it will be for the heads of municipal election commissions to carry out these violations,” says Andrey Pivovarov.
“It is necessary to demand the abolition of the September elections”
Coordinator of the “Observers of St. Petersburg” Krasimir Vranski believes that the violations recorded during both the municipal and the governor’s election campaigns give every reason to demand that the elections be postponed to November or December this year. In a conversation with a correspondent for the Russian service of the Voice of America, he substantiated this idea as follows: “In municipal elections, we are talking about violations in dozens of constituencies. This will affect the fact that then they will gradually remove candidates, and on election day the well-known schemes of ballot stuffing, “carousels”, buying votes and so on will be implemented..
Regarding the gubernatorial elections, we saw that initially a list of the safest contenders for Beglov was drawn up. They collected signatures, at the last moment they realized that the leader of the local branch of the LDPR, Oleg Kapitanov, was quite young and could suddenly win the elections, so he was bribed with his position in Smolny.
The guys from Navalny’s headquarters opened the scheme for “drawing” signatures for Beglov, we regularly received the same signals from budgetary organizations – kindergartens, schools, district administrations – that signatures were being “drawn” in favor of the acting governor. Accordingly, when we see that such violations are committed every day, we need to demand that the September elections be canceled and postponed at least three months in advance, “the coordinator of Observers of St. Petersburg believes..
Krasimir Vranski added that in the coming days he intends to apply for a rally, the main topic of which will be the requirement to postpone the election of municipal candidates and the governor of St. Petersburg.
By the way, on the morning of July 2, Boris Vishnevsky, who put forward his candidacy in the gubernatorial elections, announced that he was forced to end his campaign. The reason for this decision was the notorious municipal filter, that is, each candidate must enlist the support of 5% to 10% of the signatures of the total number of municipal deputies and heads of municipalities elected in elections.
On his Facebook page, Vishnevsky wrote: “To pass the“ municipal filter ”, it was necessary to collect 155 signatures of municipal deputies in three quarters of municipalities. This supposedly should show that the candidate for governor has support in the society. I failed to collect these signatures …
If, in order to participate in the election of the governor, I had to collect only the signatures of the townspeople, I would collect them, and everyone understands this. But I needed the signatures of municipal deputies, the overwhelming majority of whom belong to the “United Russia”.
Only a few municipal deputies – truly independent from the government – decided to sign for my participation in the elections. I thank them and appreciate their personal courage. “.
“Double bundle” of municipal deputies
About why such close attention is paid to the current municipal campaign in St. Petersburg, the correspondent of the Russian service “Voice of America” talked with the coordinator of the local headquarters Alkesei Navalny, candidates for municipal deputies Alexander Shurshev.
“There are a few things here,” he began. – Firstly, municipal deputies are a filter in the election of the governor, and we see how we have now used this filter, given that 90% of municipalities are United Russia, which decided who will participate in the election of the governor.
And the second is also the factor of elections to the Legislative Assembly. Because the municipal deputies then help to elect the deputies of the city parliament. They work with the population: they give out gifts, explain who they need to vote for and who they cannot vote for, and so on. They, as they say, “hold the territory”, because we have many deputies of the legislative assembly, who have their relatives as municipalities in their own districts. So there is a double link with both the governor and the city deputies, ”explains Alexander Shurshev.
Meanwhile, it became known about new cases of attacks on opposition candidates for municipal deputies. Near the IKMO “Chernaya Rechka” provocateurs called “titushki” beat the candidate from the Yabloko party Alexander Shatalin, who was hospitalized as a result of the attack.