Chief Prosecutor sees no reason for election re-run

Prosecutor-General Yury Chaika (AFP Photo / Mikhail Klimentyev)
Russia’s Prosecutor General has said he sees no reason to cancel the results of the December 4 parliamentary poll, but has promised to hold an investigation into all reported violations.

­“I think there are no grounds for setting a new election date or recounting the votes after the results of the voting,” Yuri Chaika told the press on Monday, commenting on protests which took place across Russia on Saturday to highlight violations at last weekend’s elections to the State Duma.

At the same time, the official acknowledged that some genuine election violations had indeed taken place.  “All information about the violations is being gathered, including by our agency, and we thoroughly check every such fact. When the check is finished, we will undertake measures determined by the law, up to the instigation of criminal cases,” Chaika said.

The Prosecutor General also said the protests were nothing extraordinary and praised the police and special services for handling them professionally. "As for the rallies, we have seen the civil stance of our fellow citizens and their interest in the situation in the country. And that is normal. As prosecutor general, I am especially happy that the police and law enforcement officials, in particular, were very professional," Chaika said.

The head of the Russian Investigative Committee Aleksandr Bastrykin also promised to react to reports of election violations. Talking to Human Rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin, Bastrykin said that his committee received 45 reports about violations of election law, 35 of which deal with the organization and conduct of the voting.

A mass rally against alleged election fraud was held in Moscow on Saturday December 10 with protesters demanding the annulment of the results, the firing of officials in charge of electoral procedure, and a fresh Duma poll. At the same time, leaders of the parliamentary opposition said they did not plan to give up the seats they had won, even though they did not consider the election completely fair.

The Central Election Commission maintains that the vote was held according to the law and has even accused the opposition of staging certain violations and then filming them and placing the videos on the internet to cause public outrage.