Russia's leading independent election monitoring organization, Golos, said the March 4 presidential election was not free or fair, relative to either international electoral standards or the Russian constitution.
In a preliminary report issued March 5, Golos took note of government responses to new popular demands for reform and clean elections, which included both political liberalization, such as easing registration of new parties and cameras in polling stations. Ultimately, however, Golos said the number of reported violations on March 4 was comparable to that during the December 2011 Duma elections. There were fewer attempts to bar observers from polling places, and cameras and transparent ballot boxes helped to cut some overt fraud. However, Golos observed a major increase in mass coercion of voters, particularly through abuse of absentee voting procedures. In total, Golos concluded that the elections were, like previous Russian elections, characterized by "an insufficient level of competition, government interference with the electoral process and some degree of coercion to vote."
Read Golos' full statement, including analysis of election day and the pre-election period, and results of more than 15,000 citizen reports to Golos' hotline and on-line "map" of electoral violations, here»
- Read the preliminary statement»
- NDI calls on Russia to stop Golos harassment»
- Global domestic election monitoring network seeks to share experience»
Published March 7, 2012