14:27 GMT28 July 2021
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    Russia has created everything necessary for international observers to work comfortably and productively in the course of the legislative elections, the head of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) mission said Monday. The elections were open and competitive.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Central Election Commission chair Ella Pamfilova told reporters earlier in the day that 264,000 people observed the September 18 vote to elect 450 lawmakers to Russia’s lower house of parliament.

    "I would like to say that in our opinion Russia has created all conditions for fruitful and comfortable work of international observers," Vladimir Garkun told reporters at the Central Election Commission headquarters.

    Garkun maintained that his team has not experienced "any difficulties, constraints, we had access everywhere where we wanted to participate and be present."

    The elections were open and competitive, and were organized in accordance with Russian electoral law, Garkun said.

    “The elections of State Duma lawmakers of the seventh convocation conducted on September 18, 2016, were carried out in accordance with the country’s current electoral law. The Central election Commission ensured the legalization of the rights of citizens to free expression. The elections conformed to the principles of democratic elections, [they] were open and competitive,” Garkun told reporters.

    He noted the "greater transparency and democratic nature" of the vote and the level playing field offered during the campaign.

    "With regard to the election campaign, then in our opinion equal conditions and the right to speak in the media were created for political parties [and] candidates conducting the election campaign," Garkun added.

    Minor flaws and omissions recorded by the CIS observers could not have influenced the outcome of the vote, Garkun said.

    "In their reports, the CIS observers noted some shortcomings and omissions that were not of mass character and could not affect the outcome of the vote."

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    parliamentary elections, Commonwealth of Independent States, Vladimir Garkun, Russia
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