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Speech of the Chairman of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation at the First Session of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation of the Fourth Convocation on December 29, 2003

Dear Mr. President of the Russian Federation,

Dear delegates of the State Duma,


On behalf of the Central Election Commission I congratulate you on the end of the election campaign and the beginning of the work of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation of the fourth convocation.


The citizens of Russia have made their choice: it is you whom they entrusted with representing their interests in the parliament of the Russian Federation.


Now you will have to deal with important problems connected with the development of the legislation of our country - the Russian Federation.


The past election campaign will be remembered by a number of special features. I will point out some of them.


By the beginning of the election campaign 44 political parties and 20 all-Russia public associations had the right to participate in the election of deputies to the State Duma. In 1999, the number of such associations was much larger - 139.


The Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation has registered federal lists of 23 political parities and election blocs which contained 3000 candidates. Another six parties nominated their candidates only in single-seat districts. The number of candidates registered in single-seat districts totaled almost 2000 - an average of 9 persons per deputy seat in a district.


The number of complaints made in the course of the elections to the CEC of Russia and to courts against the refusal to register candidates decreased several times compared to the 1999 parliamentary elections.


The election campaign was conducted with the work of election commissions being open to the public. For instance, over 1200 Russian and foreign (international) observers from more than 30 countries of the world were accredited by the CEC of Russia. They represented 200 TV and radio companies, mass media and news agencies.


The public control over the elections was exercised by over 800 thousand observers from candidates, political parties and election blocs and by about 1200 foreign (international) observers.


The preliminary election results for the federal electoral district were published as early as 10 a.m. on December 8. These results were based on 90 percent of the protocols of precinct election commissions received through the State Automated System "Vybory"of the Russian Federation.


For the first time in the history of federal elections in our country election commissions of the Subjects of the Russian Federation published in the Internet the data of the protocols of vote returns for all electoral precincts within a day of the end of voting. This allowed observers and any citizen to compare this data with the certified copies of the protocols of vote returns issued at electoral precincts immediately after the votes were counted.


None of other countries comparable to Russia in the territory and number of voters can boast of such transparency ad promptness in the establishment of election results.


The new forms which ensure openness in tallying vote returns at each electoral precinct required high culture and quality of the work of precinct and territorial election commissions. Not all of almost half a million people who worked in commissions were ready for this and sometimes they committed mistakes, did not strictly observe the requirements of the law when executing documents about vote returns and this prompted some political parties to submit complaints to the CEC of Russia. The preliminary analysis of these complaints has shown that they contain many groundless political accusations, that there are no grounds for allegations about mass falsifications, although there are reasonable grievances against some precinct commissions.


We set ourselves this task: we will carefully check each such reasonable grievance, with the participation of the prosecutor's office where necessary, and bring the offenders to responsibility. We must get rid of people who discredit election commissions.


On the basis of the general results of the elections to the State Duma in the federal electoral district as established by the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation, the five percent barrier was negotiated by four participants: three political parties and one election bloc.


225 deputy seats have been distributed between the federal lists of candidates as follows:


Political party "United Russia" - 120 seats;


Communist Party of the Russian Federation - 40 seats;


Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia - 36 seats;


Election bloc "Rodina" (popular-patriotic union)" - 29 seats.


The political parties and the election bloc which have negotiated a five percent barrier received over 70 percent of the vote.


After the elections, a mechanism will be set in operation, whereby state support will be rendered to political parties depending on the support given them by voters, as provided by the Federal Law "On Political Parties."


Twelve political parties, including those which were comprised in election blocs, have received the right to state funding in proportion to the number of votes cast for them. These are the political parties and election blocs which received over three percent of the vote or had more than 12 delegates elected to the State Duma. Apart from the parties and blocs included in the distribution of deputy seats this number includes:


Russian Democratic Party "Yabloko" 4.3 percent of the vote;


Union of the Right Forces - 3.97 percent;


Agrarian Party of Russia - 3.64 percent;


Election bloc "Russian Party of Pensioners and Party of Social Justice" - 3.09 percent.


They were joined by the People's Party of the Russian Federation, which did not receive three percent of the vote but is represented in the State Duma by 17 deputies elected in single-seat districts.


In addition to this, three parties and one bloc which were supported by more than 5 percent of the voters may, in the coming four years, nominate and register candidates at any election in the Russian Federation without collecting voter signatures in support of candidates and without paying an election deposit.


Now, about single-seat electoral districts. 222 seats have been distributed on the basis of the election results. In three districts the elections have been declared not to have taken place because of a high percentage of voters who voted "against all." Repeat elections in these districts are set for March 14, 2004.


So far as single-seat districts are concerned the party representation is as follows. The Untied Russia has the largest number of deputy seats in the State Duma - 103. It is followed by much less successful parties: People's Party of the Russian Federation - 17; Communist Party of the Russian Federation - 12; Election bloc "Rodina" (popular-patriotic union)" - 8 seats.


67 deputies have been elected from among self-nominated candidates.


The winners in single-seat districts received from 17.46 percent of the vote (Andrei Alexandrovich Benin, Admiralteisky single-seat electoral district No. 206, St. Petersburg) to 82.12 percent of the vote (Iosif Davydovih Kobzon, Aginsky Buryat single-seat electoral district No. 215, Aginsky Buryat Autonomous Okrug).


A mere 65 candidates for deputy in single-seat electoral districts have received more than a half of the vote.


A total of about 25 million voters have cast their votes for winners in single-seat districts and almost 43 million have voted for deputies elected on party lists.


What has caused our greatest concern in the past election campaign?


This is a decrease in the number of voters who took part in the elections and an increase of 650 thousand in the number of voters who voted against all federal lists. Whereas in December 1999 the number of voters who came to the polls was 66,840 thousand, this year this number was 60,712 thousand, i.e. the turnout of voters decreased by 6 percent to 55.75 percent of the number of voters included in voter lists.


Such activity of voters does not practically differ from the situation in many democratic countries but this must not put our minds at ease. This trend has to be thoroughly analyzed.


Composition of the State Duma of the fourth convocation. According to our data 440 deputies are graduates of higher educational establishments. The age groups are as follows: 9 deputies are under thirty years; 74 are 30 to 40; 135 - 40 to 50, 179 - 50 to 60, 50 are aged 60 and over.


The new State Duma has 45 women (in 1999 there were 35, in 1995 - 46). Of course, it is not many.


273 deputies, i.e., more than a half of all deputies, served on the bodies of state power before election. Out of this number 205 were deputies of the State Duma, 32 - deputies of regional parliaments. 46 deputies held various posts in executive bodies immediately before the election and 11 deputies represent the bodies of local self-government.


The productive sectors of the economy and the cultural, scientific, arts and educational institutions are represented by over 15 percent of deputies, the mass media by 4 deputies. Your colleagues include two servicemen, seven representatives of the law enforcement bodies, private entrepreneurs, pensioners.


Dear deputies,


In conclusion, I want once again to congratulate you on your victory in the elections and wish you successes in the difficult legislative activity: in a large degree the quality of life of each Russian citizen and the wellbeing of the country as a whole depend on how effective this activity will be.