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League of Voters Launches Programme to Support Referenda across Russia

Source: HRO.org (info), 28/05/12

· Electoral law

"We note that all over Russia citizens are now wondering how to make best use of various forms of direct democracy - in particular referenda and citizen-led legislative initiatives - in order to regain control over legislative and executive power in their region, city or municipality, a right guaranteed by the Constitution of the Russian Federation," the League of Voters stated in a press release.

The press release further points out that "the initiators of referenda believe that a direct expression of the voters' will provide the only reliable guarantee that justice, equality and the law are observed in the course of elections at various levels and that the kind of lawlessness and arbitrariness that accompanied the 4 December 2011 election for the State Duma and the Presidential election on 4 March 2012 can be prevented."

The League of Voters intends to offer active support to such initiatives throughout Russia, and is prepared to make every possible contribution to their development, Rosbalt reports.

Moscow is the first region where the citizens are planning to initiate a referendum, the press release states. Members of the League of Voters "welcome the determination of a large group of Muscovites to set up an initiative group that will offer the electorate the chance of directly expressing their will and thus showing how they feel about pressing political issues in Russia's capital."

It is also reported that several members of the League of Voters have called for thousands of Muscovites to participate in a rally on 12 June, the Day of the Adoption of the Declaration of Russia's Sovereignty. The rally is expected to launch a public discussion on the issue of a referendum and start the process of registering the names of those interested in joining a referendum initiative group. The initiators are determined to ensure that all further discussion regarding the goals of the referendum and the wording of the referendum questions is conducted as openly as possible, including through the Internet and by making use of social networks.

A request to hold a rally on Russia Day on 12 June from 12 a.m. in front of the Sakharov Museum and Social Centre carries the signatures of the League of Voters' coordinator Nikolai Beliaev, its co-founders Dmitry Bykov, Sergei Parkhomenko and Olga Romanova, as well as a deputy of one of Moscow's municipal assemblies, Elena Tkach.
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