10 Sep 2019 18:17

Sending blank election monitoring forms to Navalny's campaign was criminal - CEC

MOSCOW. Sept 10 (Interfax) - The Central Election Commission (CEC) is looking into how blank election monitoring referrals, signed by a senior Communist Party member, ended up at the campaign office of the opposition politician Alexei Navalny, CEC deputy chair Nikolai Bulayev said.

"Electronic mass media have been actively reporting that Mr. Rashkin [first secretary at the Communist Party's Moscow branch] had allegedly provided Navalny's office with a large quantity of blank forms to fill out and send people to monitor the polls. We have concluded that this may be considered a crime, and one that is described in the Criminal Code," Bulayev told journalists on Tuesday.

"The law sets limits on sending certain individuals as observers to polling stations and the Criminal Code stipulates that blank forms cannot be in given out freely.

"When you send an observer, you must enter their full name, and only then does it become a document. In this particular instance, the documents, if one is to believe what has been written and pictures in the media, were far away from Mr. Rashkin's office. It could be two circumstances: either the documents were made by someone else without Rashkin's knowledge and were thus false from the start, or Rashkin issued those documents under his signature and the Communist Party seal to Navalny's office, which too, is a crime.

"Such actions are damaging what all parties and [election] commissions have been fighting for," namely: "for intelligible people to take part in campaigns. If that's the way we are going to take part in election campaigns, then the legitimacy of vote results may always be put in doubt, of course," Bulayev said.