«Counteracting Cynicism and Evil»
In the conference room of the Governmental House of Sverdlovsk Oblast an inter-regional scientific and practical conference «Election System of the Sverdlovsk Oblast as the Basis for the Establishment and Development of the Institution of the Representative and Elective Democracy in the Middle Urals» was opened
This scientese and loud name could discourage a layman on the threshold of this event. But there were no laymen at the conference. Among those present were representatives of the Central Election Commission, Sverdlovsk Oblast Election Commission and other election commissions, including polling sites election commissions, and their colleagues from neighboring oblasts and national okrugs, heads of municipal formations of the oblast, heads of the local and oblast courts, procuracy and Home Affairs Department, representatives of political parties and public associations, religious confessions, mass media and scholars. Of special interest was a welcoming speech made by Alexei Vorobyev, Chairman of the Oblast Government, our guest Christian Nadeau, IFES Moscow Project Director, and Pyetr Mangilev, clergyman, Pro-Rector of the Ekaterinburg Eparchial Clerical School, who read to the conference participants an address of Nikon, Bishop of Ekaterinburg and Verkhotura.
The occasion for such a representative assembly is the fifth anniversary of the Russian election system and the fact that is known to many voters of the Middle Urals: next year we are entering a new election cycle. In August there will be governor elections, in the end of 1999 - elections to the State Duma, then to the Oblast Parliament and finally - Presidential Elections.
In order for these important democratic events to be carried out in compliance with the legislation, without complains and court cases, in order to counteract cynicism and evil (like Rev. Nikon mentioned in his address to the conference participants) that are still present in election campaigns, the conference participants gathered to discuss issues, and to exchange experiences and views. The participants stressed it, that the main task of the future elections administration is to protect voters' rights and their self-determination.
As of today, as it was mentioned at the conference, there is evidence of violation of voters' rights. For example, in Leningrad Oblast a decision was taken to carry out the governor elections a year from now. In the meantime the responsibilities of the executive power body will be taken by the vice-governor, although he was not elected by anybody.
Another curious case: in one of large cities, the so called anti-bureaucratic party demanded that its representative be registered as a deputy to the State Duma in spite of the fact that he did not participate in the elections, since, as this party claimed, «because of the bureaucrats» the said representative was not able to collects the necessary amount of voters' signatures in his support.
Our vision is that the conference will develop useful recommendations that will be of help to election administrators, will assist to conduct election campaigns in a proper way, and will finally favor the establishment of a legal state and improvement of legal culture of its citizens.