A new bill on the State Duma elections is expected to impose further restrictions to the work of international observers during Russian parliamentary campaigns. The bill would also prohibit Russian parties from forming electoral blocs and, at the same time, reduce the threshold for parties running in the elections from 7 to 5 percent. Russian President Vladimir Putin submitted a new version of a bill on parliamentary elections to the State Duma on Friday, a spokesman for the chamber’s executive office told Interfax. The bill, drafted by the Central Elections Committee, was widely debated and discussed, including by parliamentarians and members of political parties not represented in the State Duma. The bill on the State Duma elections prohibits foreign citizens and international organizations from influencing the election outcome in Russia in any form. “Activities by foreign citizens, stateless persons, foreign organizations, international organizations and international public movements promoting or impeding the organization of State Duma elections, the nomination or registration of specific candidates, federal lists of candidates, and the election of candidates to the State Duma are prohibited,” the draft law submitted by the Russian president to the State Duma on Friday says.
The procedures governing the involvement of foreign (international) monitors in the monitoring of the preparations for and organization of State Duma elections are established by international treaties, this law and other legislative acts. The norms of the bill governing the activities by foreign monitors in Russian elections provide that they “have the right to publicly state their opinion on Russian legislation on elections, the preparations for and organization of State Duma elections, hold press conferences, and talk to the media only after the voting is over on the entire territory of the Russian Federation.”
The bill also provides that “foreign (international) monitors have no right to use their status to conduct activities not related to the preparation for and organization of State Duma elections.” If monitors violate “the generally accepted principles and norms of international law, the present federal law, and other federal laws,” the Central Elections Commission has the right to revoke their accreditation.