- Title: Russiaâ€™s vote on constitution was predictable â€“ monitor
- Date: 2nd July 2020
- Summary: MOSCOW, RUSSIA (JULY 2, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PRELIMINARY VOTE RESULTS ON SCREEN IN CENTRAL ELECTION COMMISSION (CEC) CEC AT WORK MAPS ON SCREENS GOLOS NGO MONITOR, VITALY AVERIN, SITTING AT DESK GOLOS LOGO ON FLAG (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) GOLOS NGO MONITOR, VITALY AVERIN, SAYING: "The principles fundamental for such events were violated, in terms of organization and holding it. Among these violations - the campaigning was not regulated; the Central Election Commission became the main agitator during this campaign. The rights and opportunities for campaigning against the amendments were not secured for those who opposed the amendments. The process was organised in such a way that the result was predictable throughout the vote." FIGURINES (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) GOLOS NGO MONITOR, VITALY AVERIN, SAYING: "This is people's private time, most of the people do it (eds note: refers to monitoring) when they are not at work. So, they cannot afford this constitutional rally, which in this case lasted seven days, six days of the early vote and the official voting day. For government resources it is very convenient, they (eds note: refers to state employees) are using time, resources and opportunities, provided to them by the Russian people, taxpayers. This money is used to organise a controlled vote. Of course, it is convenient." VARIOUS OF KREMLIN (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) MOSCOW CARNEGIE CENTER EXPERT, ANDREI KOLESNIKOV, SAYING: "I think the option to reset the presidential terms is precisely because (President Vladimir) Putin could not find a worthy successor for 2024, the only person who deserves trust in his eyes is himself. So, for this period of time, a decision was made not to make things complicated with a state council option, the option with Belarus is also complicated, it's impossible to talk the local dictator into something. So, the simplest option was chosen - changes to the Constitution, the extension of powers, democracy is somewhere far ahead after the next two terms. In 2024, it's understood that Putin must run for the presidency if the whole process is already launched. He has organised a platform for himself already." ST. BASIL'S CATHEDRAL (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) MOSCOW CARNEGIE CENTER EXPERT, ANDREI KOLESNIKOV, SAYING: "This vote has dual effect (on the authorities), on the one hand of course it is a triumph, but on the other hand of course they irritate people with constant pressure. Even people not interested in politics and ready to support Putin, I think, did not like it too much, to line up for voting and reporting about their votes. Hard times are coming for the Russian government in terms of politics and economics." KREMLIN AS SEEN OVER RIVER (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) MOSCOW CARNEGIE CENTER EXPERT, ANDREI KOLESNIKOV, SAYING: "Putin used to build a decent society when oil prices were high, and economic growth. Where is he going now? It is obvious that they are trying to invent a word for these plans in the Kremlin, they used to talk about a 'breakthrough', but apart from jokes about a breakthrough in the sewage system, this did not result in anything. This is the question - where we are going with this man who will be with us for a long time? Will he make people even more angry as there is no escape from him." VARIOUS OF KREMLIN RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT
- Embargoed: 16th July 2020 19:10
- Keywords: Carnegie center Golos Just Russia Kremlin Putin Russia ammendments constitution politics poll voting
- Location: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- City: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA001CL4BOEF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:An observer from Russian election monitoring NGO Golos said on Thursday (July 2) that the results of a nationwide vote on amendments to the Russian constitution were predictable.
Official results published on Thursday, after 100% of ballots had been counted, showed that nearly 78% of voters had approved constitutional changes allowing Russian President Vladimir Putin to run for two more six-year terms after his current one ends in 2024. The Kremlin hailed the result as a triumph.
"The principles fundamental for such events were violated, in terms of organization and holding it," Golos observer Vitaly Averin said, adding that the campaign was not regulated and that there was little opportunity to campaign against the amendments.
Central Election Committee Head Ella Pamfilova said on Thursday that the vote was valid, and that the committee was not aware of any cases that could have affected the outcome.
Moscow Carnegie Center expert Andrei Kolesnikov believes that changing the Russian constitution was the easiest way of ensuring the Putin stays in power until 2024 because the Russian leader has not found a worthy successor.
"Hard times are coming for the Russian government in terms of politics and economics," he said, adding that the Russian people may not be content having the same leader for such a long time.
Putin himself has said that he is yet to decide on his future. Critics, who liken Putin to a latter-day Tsar, say they are sure he will run again, but some analysts say he may want to keep his options open to avoid becoming a lame duck.
At 60%, according to the Levada pollster, his approval rating remains high but well down on its peak of nearly 90%.
(Production: Alexander Reshetnikov, Dmitry Madorsky, Anton Derbenev, Peter Scott)
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