On 25 December 2019, a regular meeting of the CEC of Russia was held.
At the meeting, participants considered the issue of the implementation by the St. Petersburg Election Commission of the instructions of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation related to the municipal elections in St. Petersburg in 2019.
The Chairman of the St. Petersburg Election Commission Viktor Minenko informed about the situation in the electoral system of the city.
In his opinion, 13% of the precinct election commissions of the city can be called problematic. He said that 98 lawsuits related to claims on the work of election commissions remain under consideration by city courts. On other 104 complaints, the City Electoral Commission conducts an audit on its own.
“The last campaign for the election of municipal deputies has become unprecedented. The city election commission received more than seven thousand complaints from citizens. At the Commission’s meetings, more than 800 decisions on complaints were made, 532 decisions on refusal to register candidates were canceled, - Viktor Minenko said. - All this indicates the presence of systemic problems and errors in the work of election commissions.”
Victor Minenko acknowledged the shortcomings in the electoral system of St. Petersburg and expressed readiness to work on identifying and correcting these problems. According to him, a road map will be prepared in the near future with real steps for future reform.
Ella Pamfmilova, Chairperson of the CEC of Russia, stated: “Our strategic goal with regard to St. Petersburg is, of course, a systematic and fundamental improvement of the entire electoral system, of the entire electoral process. We have a strategy for solving systemic problems in St. Petersburg, but they cannot be resolved in one swoop, so careful daily monitoring will be required. The CEC of Russia will take all possible measures within its competence.”
Deputy Chairperson of the CEC of Russia Nikolai Bulaev emphasized that St. Petersburg needs to completely reconstruct the electoral system, and noted that the current city election commission often does not implement its own decisions.
“We would really like to have an exemplary election commission in St. Petersburg so that it works as beautifully as the city itself is beautiful,” he said.
The CEC of Russia considered the measures taken by the St. Petersburg Electoral Commission to execute certain instructions of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation as unsatisfactory.
The City Electoral Commission was charged with re-analyzing the work of all election commissions of municipalities and precinct election commissions, paying particular attention to possible cases of violations of the rights of citizens and candidates, members of commissions, that have been stated in complaints and appeals.
Due to obvious omissions in the training of Commission members, it was also entrusted with conducting an internal review of persons responsible for this type of activity and taking appropriate response measures.
“The city commission has three ways out of this situation, - said Ella Pamfilova. - The first is to work as much as possible to prove that the commission can lead the process of reforming the electoral system and fulfill all our instructions. The second is to write resignation statements and lay down its authority, giving way to more worthy candidates. And the third is to wait for the dissolution of the commission by court decision in accordance with the law.”
In the discussion of the activities of the St. Petersburg Electoral Commission precincts during the municipal elections on the single voting day the following persons also tool part: Alexander Brod, Expert of the Independent Public Monitoring Association, Alexander Shishlov, Member of the Presidential Council for Civil Society Development and Human Rights, the Commissioner for Human Rights of St. Petersburg, and observers who supervised the election.