Monday, November 28, 2005

Slow Vote

At the Prague Watchdog, Lecha Sadayev gives his impressions of yesterday's elections in Chechnya (my tr.):
ARGUN, Chechnya - In spite of clear and warm weather, voting in the Kremlin-staged parliamentary elections was sluggish in the town of Argun, situated 15 km south-east of the Chechen capital Grozny.

At 10 am on November 27, i.e., two hours after voting began, the courtyard of voting station No. 4 was deserted, apart from about twenty duty policemen.

Despite the fact that all 2148 local voters live in a radius of 50 to 200 metres around the school, by 10 am only 62 people had voted here. At adjacent voting station No.2 no more than 110 of the registered 2130 voters arrived at the ballot boxes in the first 2 hours.

Voting was somewhat more active in the courtyard of secondary school No.1 in the centre of the town. Here the local authorities organized a concert with singing and dancing. Accordingly, the turnout of voters there was much higher: by10am more than 360 people had voted, comprising almost 20% of the total number.

In the first half of the day, voting was also rather slow in the other towns and districts of the republic. According to Ismail Baykhanov, head of the republic’s electoral commission, the 25% barrier necessary for the elections to be acknowledged as having taken place was not crossed until 13.00 Moscow time.
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