On Violation of Election Campaigning Rules and Procedures during Preparation for the Election of the President of the Russian Federation in the Year 2000
CENTRAL ELECTION COMMISSION OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
February 17, 2000
Having considered the issues of election campaigning in the course of the election campaign for the election of the President of the Russian Federation in the year 2000, the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation notes that from the day of official publication of the decision to call the election of the President of the Russian Federation, a number of organizations engaged in TV and/or radio broadcasting (hereafter «TV and radio broadcasting organizations») and editorial offices of periodicals, as well as certain candidates running for President of the Russian Federation (hereafter «registered candidates») violate election campaigning rules and procedures established by the Federal Law «On the Election of the President of the Russian Federation» (hereafter «the Federal Law»). The Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation receives statements from voters and other participants in the electoral process, expressing concern about violations of the time limits for election campaigning established by the Federal Law and about the fact that TV news casts and periodicals show preference for certain candidates.
In accordance with Clause 6, Article 5 and Clause 5, Article 48 of the Federal Law, election campaigning of registered candidates in periodicals in the election of the President of the Russian Federation in the year 2000 may start on February 25, 2000. In violation of this Federal Law regulation, election propaganda materials of the registered candidate G.A.Zyuganov were published in the newspaper Sovetskaya Rossiya on February 10, 2000, and in the newspaper Pravda on February 10 and February 15-16, 2000. In connection with this, measures are taken to bring the editors-in-chief of the said newspapers to administrative responsibility in a procedures established by law.
In violation of the time limits for election campaigning established by Article 45 and Clause 5, Article 48, as well as Articles 8, 44, 48, 50 and 57 of the Federal Law, on February 4, 2000, the newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta published election propaganda materials under the title «How Many People Are Ready to Give Their Votes for Vladimir Putin Right Away?» The Ministry of the Press, TV and Broadcasting and Mass Media Communications of the Russian Federation issued a warning to Anatoly Yurkov, Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta, about inadmissibility of violation of the Federal Law. The warning was duly taken into account by the newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta which has not published any materials of this kind after February 4, 2000.
On February 7 and February 8, 2000, the ORT company (TV and broadcasting organization) broadcast an interview with the acting President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin in which he outlined his political views and spoke about certain aspects of his biography and private life. Since at that time V.V. Putin was also a candidate running for President of the Russian Federation, voters and other participants in the electoral process express doubts about the legality of using a state-run TV and radio broadcasting organization during an election campaign, because according to Clauses 3 and 4, Article 35 of the Federal Law, candidates holding government and municipal offices are not allowed to take advantage of their official position, including privileged access to state-run mass media, for the purpose of election campaigning.
The newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda No.26 dated February 11, 2000 published an article entitled «Vladimir Putin Answered Questions of «KP» Readers.» Vladimir Putin: « I will not be telling fables. We don't need them». Moreover, a number of articles appearing in the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda (for example, the newspaper issues dated January 6 and January 21, 2000) consistently suggested that candidate V.V.Putin does not have any worthy rivals in the early election, and he is an obvious favorite of the election campaign. Such materials were published systematically and they showed a marked preference for one of the candidates.
Along with this, such newspapers as Sovetskaya Rossiya and Segodnya systematically published materials that contained negative information about candidate V.V. Putin.
A number of documents received by the CEC of RF testify to a negative reaction of voters to public statements made by government officials in support of certain candidates, and other similar actions which violate Clause 3, Article 44 of the Federal Law according to which bodies of state power, persons holding government and municipal offices, and municipal employees are not allowed to conduct election campaigning.
Guided by Articles 8, 17, 44, 45, 48, 49 and 50 of the Federal Law «On the Election of the President of the Russian Federation», the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation here by resolves:
1. To draw attention of the heads of TV and radio broadcasting organizations and editorial offices of periodicals to the fact that the law obliges them to take the necessary measures to prevent violation of the time limits established for election campaigning and to prevent election campaigning being conducted by persons who do not have the right to conduct it on the channels of TV and radio broadcasting organizations and in periodicals without payment out of the electoral funds of the registered candidates. Otherwise, in accordance with Clause 7, Article 53 of the Federal Law, TV and radio broadcasting organizations, editorial offices of periodicals and their staff members may be held liable under the Federal Law.
2. To draw attention of the registered candidate G.A. Zuganov to the necessity of observing the rules and time limits of election campaigning on the channels of TV and radio broadcasting organizations and in periodicals.
3. To draw attention of the registered candidate V.V. Putin to the necessity of taking into account the requirements of the Federal Law «On the Election of the President of the Russian Federation» in his activities carried on by him as a person who holds a government office.
4. To publish this resolution in the newspaper Parlamentskaya Gazeta, newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Bulletin of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation.
Central Election Commission
of the Russian Federation
Central Election Commission
of the Russian Federation