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06.08.2020, . 13:58

Leaders of all-Russian political public associations (electoral associations) On certain issues of formation and operation of electoral blocs in the election of deputies of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation (third convocatio

CENTRAL ELECTION COMMISSION OF
THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION

103132, Moscow, Ul. Ilyinka 10: phone: 206-4258; fax: (095) 206-9789

The purpose of this letter is to draw the attention of all-Russian political public associations and election officials from the ranks of electoral association representatives to certain questions relating to formation and operation of electoral blocs in the election of deputies of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation in 1999 in the light of newly-adopted provisions of the Federal Law On the election of deputies of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation (further referred to as the Federal Law) as well as the experiences of federal election campaigns conducted by electoral blocs, and offer recommendations on the application of separate provisions of the Federal Law.

The Federal Law provides for formation of an electoral bloc by two or more electoral associations for the purpose of joint participation in the election (Clause 1, Article 33).

The procedure for formation and operation of electoral blocs in the election of deputies of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation (further referred to as the State Duma) is governed by the provisions held by Articles 33-35, 38-40,43-47, 50, 51 and other articles of the Federal Law.

Pursuant to the Federal Law (Clause 1, Article 33), an electoral bloc can be formed only by the electoral associations meeting the requirements of Article 32 of the Federal Law all-Russian political public associations registered as such with the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation no later than one year before the voting day (Clause 2-5, Article 5).

Clause 1, Article 33 of the Federal Law stipulates the principle of free choice applied by electoral associations in forming an electoral bloc. Judging from the previous campaigning experiences, an effort to create an electoral bloc should best be started with consultations held by leaders (executives) of all-Russian political public associations or their authorized representatives to tackle the questions of expediency and possibility of coming together in a bloc. That sort of consultations might produce a draft agreement between the interested public associations on joint participation in the election campaign, the document necessarily holding mutual commitments, rights and duties of the relevant public (electoral) associations building an electoral bloc, just like the conditions under which the bloc is expected to be functional. The draft document should necessarily receive approvals from the governing bodies of each public (electoral) association expected to join the electoral bloc.

All election-related functions can only be held in the days of the election campaign that is defined by Article 2 of the Federal Law On basic guarantees of electoral rights and the right of citizens of the Russian Federation to participate in a referendum as a period stretching from the day of official release of the decision by the authorized official or cognizant authority on calling the election through the day the election results are published. Clearly, this provision is to say that the congresses (conferences) of all-Russian political public associations to deliberate the issues of joining that or other electoral bloc, just like the congresses (conferences) of representatives of the bloc-building electoral associations to address the questions of creating and naming an electoral bloc, pass decisions on forming electoral blocs or nominate candidates (lists of candidates) can be held no sooner than the day of official release of the decision on calling the election of deputies of the State Duma (Clause 3, Article 39).

Under the Federal Law, certain decisions relating to formation and operation of an electoral bloc can exclusively be handled by congresses (conferences) of the electoral associations either making or about to make an electoral bloc, particularly, the decisions on:

1. joining an electoral bloc (Clause 2, Article 33);

2. appointing (approving) the representatives of electoral associations authorized to sign a joint decision to establish an electoral bloc (the numbers being decided by the relevant electoral association congress (conference) (Clause 2, Article 33);

3. nominating the candidates to be carried by the federal list of candidates (the number of candidates meeting the conditions of the agreement on building an electoral bloc) (Clause4 2, Article 39);

4. confirming the representatives authorized to pass a decision on the federal list of candidates from the relevant electoral bloc at a congress (conference) of authorized representatives of electoral associations which have joined that electoral bloc (with at least two representatives being delegated, Clause 2, Article 39);

5. nominating the candidates to be carried by the list of candidates for single-mandate electoral districts (the number of candidates meeting the agreed conditions stipulated by the agreement on forming an electoral bloc, Clause 4, Article 38);

6. approving the representatives authorized to pass a decision on confirming the list of candidates for single-mandate electoral districts at a congress (conference) of authorized representatives of electoral associations which have join that electoral bloc (with at least two representatives being delegated, Clause 4, Article 38);

7. refusing to participate in the election within the given electoral bloc (the duly authorized body of the relevant electoral association also reserving the right to pass such a decision, Clause 6, Article 51).

The aforementioned issues should best be tackled in the order suggested above. Notably, a decision of an electoral association on the question under Point 1 should necessarily carry the names of electoral associations likely to join forces in an electoral bloc, with the bloc left unnamed until the matter is addressed by the congress (conference) of authorized representatives of electoral associations which have made that bloc (Clause 2,Article 33: Clause 2, Article 34). The questions under Points 2, 4 and 6 could be brought together and covered by a single decision.

One should pay attention to the fact that congresses (conferences) of representatives of electoral associations making an electoral bloc have the powers to:

1. make joint decisions of electoral associations on forming an electoral bloc (Clause 2, Article 33);

2. name an electoral bloc (Clause 1,2, Article 34);

3. approve the federal list of candidates (Clause 2, Article 39) that shall carry no more than 270 names (Clause 10, Article 39);

4. approve the list of candidates for single-mandate electoral districts (Clause 4, Article 38) that shall carry no more than 225 names one candidate per each single-mandate electoral district (Clause 2, Article 38);

5. recall the federal list of candidates (Clause 5, Article 51);

6. set up a duly authorized body (authorized bodies) of an electoral association and have it appropriately empowered (Clause 2,5, Article 35; Clause 10, Article 38: Clause 6, Article 51);

7. confirm authorized representatives of an electoral association, including those on financial matters, or transfer the representative-naming authority to the relevant body of an electoral bloc, the number of authorized representatives being determined at the discretion of the given electoral bloc (Clause 1,2, Article 35);

8. remove a candidate (registered candidate) from the federal list of candidates certified by (registered with) the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation or transfer these powers to the relevant body of an electoral bloc (Clause 8, Article 51);

9. recall a candidate nominated (registered) to run in a single-mandate electoral district or transfer these powers to the relevant body of an electoral bloc (Clause 9, Article 51).

While proceeding to fix the number of authorized representatives of an electoral bloc, one should be best advised to take into account the entire mix of engagements to be pursued in the course of campaigning and make the principal accents. The focused efforts, particularly, should include: maintaining the links with the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation, managing the electoral blocs financial operations, providing for the electoral blocs participation in the public effort to check if the voting rights are being honored, arranging for collecting voter signatures, organizing election campaigning activities, assuring the electoral blocs participation in campaigning within the territories of single-mandate electoral districts and regions of Russia. Understandably, one could identify other areas that should also be focused by an electoral bloc in the course of election campaigning.

No more than 2-3 authorized electoral bloc representatives could best be assigned to maintain links with the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation.

To save time and material resources, it appears to be expedient that Points 1, 2, 3 and 5 should be addressed by the same congress, with the relevant documents being submitted to the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation in a single dispatch (Clause 4, Article 33). That very congress should also tackle the question of nominating the candidates expected to run in single-mandate electoral districts, providing the federal law on placement of single-mandate electoral districts has already been made public (Clauses 5-7, Article 38).

Given the range of engagements pursued by an electoral bloc, one should distinguish between the status of representatives authorized by electoral associations to sign a joint decision on forming an electoral bloc, name an electoral bloc, approve the federal list of candidates and/or nominate candidates for running in single-mandate electoral districts, on the one hand, and the status of representatives of the given electoral bloc. While the former are appointed (confirmed) by the electoral associations making the given electoral bloc in order to participate in passing the aforementioned decisions at a congress (conference) of representatives of the electoral associations which have joined the electoral bloc, the latter are named by the electoral bloc (congress or conference of representatives of electoral associations making that bloc) or by the blocs duly authorized body and proceed to execute their functions aimed to assure the electoral blocs participation in the given election.

Decisions on nominating candidates to be carried by the federal and single-mandate lists of candidates are passed by secret vote (Clause 4, Article 38; Clause 2, Article 39). The procedures for passing such decisions by an electoral association, which has joined an electoral bloc, should necessarily be in line with the requirements of the relevant all-Russian political public associations charter.

Decisions on a number of issues relating to participation of an electoral bloc in the election campaign are primarily passed on the basis of the agreement on formation of an electoral bloc. Those are, particularly, rulings on: the number of candidates from each electoral association carried by the federal list of candidates, the pecking order of candidates from electoral associations on the federal list, and the distribution of single-mandate electoral districts among the electoral associations making the electoral bloc for the purpose of nominating candidates and compiling the list of candidates to run in those electoral districts.

Following a decision on forming and naming an electoral bloc, a congress of representatives of electoral associations making the bloc should proceed and rule on establishing an executive (working, coordinating, conciliatory) body to exercise the blocs authority and having that body adequately empowered.

The said body or bodies authorized by a congress (conference) of representatives of the electoral associations, which have joined the bloc, enjoy the authority to:

name authorized representatives of the electoral bloc (as directed by a congress (conference)) or representatives of the electoral associations which have joined the electoral bloc (Clauses 1,2, Article35);

terminate the powers of an authorized representative of an electoral bloc (Clause 5, Article 35);

change the single-mandate district where a candidate was originally nominated (registered) with the consent of the given candidate (Clause 10, Article 38);

nominate new candidates to run in single-mandate electoral districts out of the corps of candidates carried by the federal list (Clause 10. Article 38);

remove a candidate (registered candidate) from the federal list of candidates certified by (registered with) the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation, or recall a candidate nominated (registered) to run in a singlemandate electoral district as directed by a congress of representatives from the electoral associations which have joined the given electoral bloc (Clauses 8, 9, Article 51).

A congress (conference) of representatives from the electoral associations making an electoral bloc has the power to set up and authorize dedicated executive bodies for the election campaigning period and make other decisions in compliance with the provisions of the Federal Law and the agreement concluded between the electoral associations which have joined the given electoral bloc.

Since the Federal Law carries no provisions stipulating the procedures for naming and recalling authorized agents of an electoral bloc, appointing and terminating the powers of the non-voting members of election commissions, as well as appointing observers to monitor election commissions, those procedures are prescribed by an electoral bloc with due regard for the requirements stipulated by Clauses 1,3, Article 22; Clauses 8, 9, 10, Article 29; and Clauses 1,4, Article 50 of the Federal Law.

The number of agents named by an electoral bloc following its registration with the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation is stipulated by Clause 1, Article 50 of the Federal Law (up to 500 agents). The maximum numbers of either non-voting election commission members or observers should correspond to the number of election commissions set up to run the given set of elections (Clause 1, Article 22; Clauses 5,6, Article 29).

The Federal Law has established the procedure for certifying the election documents submitted by an electoral bloc to election commissions: the documents should be certified by the executive-level officials or by authorized representatives in separate cases, and they should carry the seals of all electoral associations which have joined the given electoral bloc (Clause 3, Article 33; Clause 9. Article 38; Clause 7, Article 39). For the sake of convenience, in the cases left uncovered by the Federal Law it is permissible to certify the electoral bloc documents with the use of the seal of only one of the electoral associations making the bloc or the seal specially fabricated and registered or approved by the given electoral bloc, providing a decision to that effect has been passed either by a congress (conference) of representatives from the blocs electoral associations or by the blocs duly authorized body.

In all other areas the functions of electoral blocs in the election of deputies of the State Duma are in sync with the functions of stand-alone electoral associations. Under Article 36 of the Federal Law, electoral associations and electoral blocs participate in the said election on equal terms and in keeping with the rules established by this Federal Law.

Chairman
of the Central Election Commission
of the Russian Federation

A.A Veshniakov







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