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League of Voters Concerned about Hunger Strike in Astrakhan

posted 6 Apr 2012, 12:46 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 6 Apr 2012, 12:58 ]
Source: (info), 05/04/12 

Co-founders of the League of Voters Dr Elizaveta Glinka, Leonid Parfenov and Petr Shkumatov are to travel to Astrakhan on Friday 6 April to visit those on hunger strike. In this way the delegation of the League of Voters wishes to attract public attention to the situation there.
As the League of Voters reports, according to Elizaveta Glinka the hunger strike that has been going on for three weeks now has had a catastrophic impact on the health of those involved. Already six people have been hospitalized with severe weight loss. Dr Glinka is most concerned about the situation of six women protestors aged between 52 and 65. Elizaveta Glinka is convinced they are in a critical condition. Oleg Shein is undertaking his hunger strike in a very committed manner, and this could have tragic consequences given the indifference shown by the Central Election Commission and government officials at all levels.

Petr Shkumatov points out: “We intend to demand an independent investigation by law enforcement agencies into all violations committed in the course of the Astrakhan mayoral elections. If these reported violations are confirmed it will be necessary to hold fresh elections. And all those complicit in electoral fraud must be prosecuted.”

The supporters of former Fair Russia deputy of the State Duma, Oleg Shein, declared an open-ended hunger strike on 16 March in protest at the electoral fraud during the mayoral elections. According to data from the Astrakhan Election Commission, the election was won with almost a 60% share of the poll by United Russia candidate Mikhail Stolyarov. Oleg Shein was second with just less than 30% of the vote, according to the official results.
However, according to numerous testimonies by election observers, at most polling stations in the city there were appalling violations. The protocols for the vote counts from individual polling stations, of which observers had copies, were significantly at variance from the results published on the official website of the Astrakhan Election Commission.

Moreover, those on hunger strike in Astrakhan found that it was impossible to obtain video recordings from the webcams that, according to official statements, had been set up in all polling stations in the city. The video recordings were needed by the ex-candidate Oleg Shein in submitting a case to the court in order to show that the voting results were falsified in more than 25% of polling stations. This would result in the cancellation of the election results and the holding of fresh elections.

On the basis of a study of the first 17 recordings from webcams, Shein’s supporters found serious violations that were subsequently confirmed in an official response by the Central Election Commission to Shein’s inquiry. But for the election results as a whole to be cancelled, results must be cancelled at least 31 polling stations. When Shein’s supporters tried to examine a further number of video recordings from the polling stations where violations had been reported, it turned out that no such recordings existed.