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Ombudsman Proposes Equating Electoral Fraud to Extremism

Source: (info), 11/04/12

· Electoral rights · Ombudsmen

Federal human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin has proposed including electoral fraud within the legal definition of ‘extremism’. Lukin announced this proposal on Wednesday, 11 April, during a visit to Tomsk.

Lukin explained his idea on the grounds that falsifying the results of the expression of the people’s will in local, regional or federal elections was one of the worst violations of the Constitution, and therefore should be punished ‘most severely’. Lukin believes that consequently Russian legislation should be amended to include the provision that “malicious, intentional attempts to pervert the will of the people as it exercises its authority through elections” is “one of the most serious forms of extremism.”

Lukin also expressed the view that the Investigative Committee and the Public Prosecutor’s Office should investigate electoral fraud on their own initiative, and not wait for complaints to be submitted by members of the public, writes, citing Novyi Region news agency.

The human rights ombudsman said that he intended to persuade members of the Duma and the public to support his initiative. He also pointed out that, in his view, the proposal to equate electoral fraud to extremism would be supported by many political parties: “After all, they are all in favour of free and fair elections.”