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    Russia's top election official rejects resignation calls

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    The chairman of Russia's Central Election Commission Vladimir Churov told a government daily on Friday he saw no reasons to resign amid alleged election violations.

    MOSCOW, October 23 (RIA Novosti) - The chairman of Russia's Central Election Commission Vladimir Churov told a government daily on Friday he saw no reasons to resign amid alleged election violations.

    About 7,000 regional polls have been held in 75 Russian regions on October 11. Russian opposition parties claimed electoral fraud after the ruling United Russia party won the elections by a landslide.

    Two of opposition parties, the nationalist LDPR and the Communists, demanded Churov's resignation.

    In an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Churov said no political body has authority over the election commission. Under the Russian legislature, the CEC chairman is elected by the 15 members of the commission. The Russian president appoints five of them, with the remaining ten appointed by each of the two chambers of the Russian parliament.

    "After the president, the State Duma and the Federation Council had nominated five members each, and they [commission members] had chosen the chairman, his deputies and a secretary, they cannot be sacked before their term expires," Russia's top election official said.

    Churov added that the commission's members can be dismissed only by a court ruling.

    "In this case, a court should establish that a Central Election Commission member had violated election legislature, or, for example, committed some kind of extremist action," the official said.

    On October 14, three opposition parties - the Communists, the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) and the Kremlin-backed A Just Russia - left the State Duma in protest against the polls. Two of the parties have since returned to parliament, and the Communists announced on Wednesday they would also end their boycott.

     

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