Russia says OSCE attempting to politicize election invitation
( RIA Novosti ) - Russia's Foreign Ministry has accused the OSCE's human rights body of trying to politicize the invitation process for observers due to monitor Russian parliamentary elections on December 2.
In the build up to the State Duma elections, there have been media reports regarding alleged problems with Russian visas for observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). However, the Russian Foreign Ministry put the blame on bureaucracy within the OSCE.
"Foreign observers at the elections will have to be accredited with the body that invited them," the Russian ministry said. OSCE observers will therefore need accreditation with Russia's Central Election Commission.
However, "requests for accreditation from ODIHR observers began arriving only recently. ODIHR officials have obviously failed to provide their observers with the relevant information and materials on time," the Russian ministry said.
In total, about 350 international observers are expected to monitor the elections to Russia's lower house. The figure is about three times lower than during the previous parliamentary elections four years ago. ODIHR is sending 70 monitors.
Russia's top election official Vladimir Churov said the election authorities had invited fewer observers this time in an effort to rely more on "professionals".