Now when the elections are over, GOLOS continues its activity in the regions

27 мая 2008 г.

In Joshkar-Ola (Marij-El Republic) GOLOS organized street action «Answer the questions for the President».

In Irkutsk GOLOS together with partner organizations held an expert round table «Does Russia need an Electoral Code?», where election commissions’ members, political parties’ representatives, journalists and independent experts came together to discuss drawbacks of the Russian electoral process and legislature.

In Joshkar-Ola (Marij-El Republic) GOLOS organized street action «Answer the questions for the President». Thus, in February 2008 GOLOS collected questions that people wanted to ask candidates for presidency. There were 2389 questions asked on the special website www.8voprosov.ru. Then voters chose 8 most popular questions by voting, which were sent to every candidate, however, none of the candidates chose to provide his answers. The aim of the project was to create a unique mechanism allowing every Russian citizen to ask politicians questions that he or she found important. Unfortunately the candidates failed to show openness, sincerity and closeness with voters.

Not getting any answer from the candidates, GOLOS started asking regional politicians, public opinion leaders and just random people on the streets these same questions. Later came the idea to issue a publication with collected answers and have it sent to the Kremlin, the State Duma and the political parties, thus informing them about the issues considered important by Russian people and the proposed ways to address them.

In Irkutsk GOLOS together with partner organizations held an expert round table «Does Russia need an Electoral Code?», where election commissions’ members, political parties’ representatives, journalists and independent experts came together to discuss drawbacks of the Russian electoral process and legislature. For instance, the findings of the monitoring GOLOS conducted during the recent federal elections proved lower rate of irregularities in election commissions staffed by younger people. At the same time numerous violations were registered in commissions headed by the same Chairperson since the Soviet era. According to Eugeny Evtushenko, the Territorial Election Commission member, the reason for this was that such people were keen on keeping the old traditions. Nadezhda Gritskih, the Regional Youth Parliament Member, stressed the importance of recruiting more young people to election commissions all over the country.

The participants of the round table also touched upon the problem of bringing mobile phones to the polling stations, having in mind the infamous cases of employers demanding that their employees photograph voting ballots. For instance, in some European countries electoral codes protect people from such power abuse by simply banning the use of any electronic devises at the polling stations.

All experts agreed on the need to work out an Electoral code, and, more importantly, – to find the ways to ensure that it is observed by all participants of the electoral process.