GOLOS Report: Trend Toward Less Competitive Elections Continues

23 апреля 2011 г.

April 27, 2011, Moscow. Today the GOLOS Association for Voters’ Rights presented its Analytical Report on the March 13 Elections. The report, based on Golos’ extensive methodological long term and short observation of the recent regional and municipal March elections, concludes that today’s elections in Russia are much less competitive than those of the mid 1990s and early 2000s.

GOLOS Report: Trend Toward Less Competitive Elections Continues
April 27, 2011, Moscow. Today the GOLOS Association for Voters’ Rights presented its Analytical Report on the March 13 Elections. The report, based on Golos’ extensive methodological long term and short observation of the recent regional and municipal March elections, concludes that today’s elections in Russia are much less competitive than those of the mid 1990s and early 2000s.

Though they have not reached the level of irrelevance of Soviet times, the general trend of elections transforming from a tool of social development into a mere democratic facade is quite visible. Moreover, last March’s elections cannot be considered free and fair as coercion of voters and massive fraud have become the norm in many regions.

Lilia Shibanova, GOLOS, Executive Director, stated, “Golos considers it its duty to stand up to this trend,” she added. “Together we can stop the lawlessness of bureaucrats who are monitored only by themselves at all levels of government”.

“We believe that until the authorities learn to listen to and to hear from their citizens, Russia will never become a true democracy. The voice of citizens’ oversight needs to become even louder and more far-reaching if this year’s State Duma elections are to be a credible reflection of the people’s will.

The current report broadens the scope over previous reports, adding sections on the establishment of borders of electoral districts, voters’ lists, electoral disputes related to registration of candidates and party lists and on press coverage of electoral campaigns. It also presents a more comprehensive analysis of the electoral results than has been undertaken in the past.

According to the report, the lack of free political competition is the primary shortcoming of elections in Russia. Abusing the registration procedures and exerting administrative pressure of electoral commissions and courts systematically denies registration of parties and candidates that offer viable alternatives to the current ballot options. In addition, governments of all levels selectively limit campaigning opportunities and access to the media for opposition candidates.

In short, the March elections reaffirmed basic trends of previous elections, i.e. massive abuse of the administrative resource (abuse of office) to ensure victory of one political party and the systematic violations of voters’ electoral rights. No improvements were observed in this regard.