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650 int'l observers to monitor Russian parliamentary elections

(Xinhua)

12:38, December 01, 2011

MOSCOW, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- Some 650 foreign observers and experts will monitor the Russian State Duma elections due on Sunday, said the Russian Central Elections Commission (CEC) Wednesday.

Briefing the heads of the regional election commissions, CEC chief Vladimir Churov said all 650 international monitors would be given permission to oversee the elections across the country.

According to Churov, the number is tiny compared to the number of observers to be dispatched to the polling stations by political parties.

Churov urged local election commissions to respect the rights of the international monitors but at the same time watch out if they outdo their mandates.

The observers must obtain additional permission for using video and photo equipment in the polling stations, he said.

There are observers from Europe, the United States, Israel and regional blocs like Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

"The elections will be crystal clear," Churov pledged.

The elections in Russia's State Duma, the lower house of the parliament, will kick off on Sunday. Altogether seven parties, including the ruling United Russia and major opposition Communist Party, are competing for seats.

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