Ulyanovsk region starts training of public observers to monitor the presidential election campaign

Regional Public Chamber will take part in implementation of citizens' electoral rights with assistance from municipal Public Chambers and the office of the Association of Lawyers of Russia.

 The key activities to ensure transparency and legitimacy of the election campaign were outlined in the agreements signed on 23 November by the Election Commission of the Ulyanovsk region, the Public Chamber and the Association of Lawyers of Russia. At the federal level, similar documents have already been signed by the Central Electoral Commission. However, the Ulyanovsk region became one of the pioneers in this sphere among federal subjects of the Russian Federation.

The regional Electoral Commission will work together with social structures to increase the confidence of the population in elective processes. Currently, a draft law "About Introduction of Amendments to the Federal Law About the Election of the President of the Russian Federation" have been submitted to the State Duma for consideration. According to this document, the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation and regional public chambers should receive the right to make their own lists of observers.

According to the Chairman of Public Chamber of the Ulyanovsk region Alexander Chepukhin, adoption of the regulatory act will offer important benefits. "Today we are developing a new and effective instrument of social control. The regional chamber is not engaged. Its representatives, who will stop their activities in the parties during this period, will represent interests of the whole society and not the ones of individual political forces", - Alexander Chepukhin emphasized.

According to the agreement with the Electoral Commission, the Public Chamber should not only ensure work of public observers during the Russian presidential election but also monitor compliance with citizens' electoral rights, work with inquiries, provide legal education and improve electoral activity of Ulyanovsk residents.

The regional office of Association of Lawyers of Russia will focus on work with youth while training the observers. “We make every effort to ensure that young people, whom we will send to polling stations, are ready to monitor the activities and to deal with any possible violations,” - said Ekaterina Grishina, the Executive Director – the Chief of Staff of the organization.

According to the Chairman of Election Commission of the Ulyanovsk region Yury Andriyenko, active co-operation with the agreements' partners began several years ago. “Representatives of the Electoral Commission aim to increase the number of competent public observers. The society wants to understand elective procedures throughout the election campaign: starting from nomination of candidates and ending with the voting day. We can satisfy all the requirements only through coordination of our work with social activists. An important point of these agreements with the Public Chamber and the Association of Lawyers of Russia is that we will create joint situational and counselling centers, as well as hotlines. They will help voters receive objective information”, - Yury Andriyenko reported.

A working group that will monitor compliance with citizens' electoral rights has already been created on the basis of the regional Public Chamber. It is working to develop a mechanism for implementation of planned activities. After the signing ceremony, participants held the first general meeting during which they discussed organization of training for people who will be act as observers during the elections. The debate brought into focus the need to ensure that representatives of all the public organizations concerned had access to observation activities. Other main topics included transparency of criteria for selection of observers and implementation of a single training programme.