The Election of President of the Russian Federation 1996: A Technical Analysis with Recommendations for Reform

Foreword

While reflecting the cumulative findings of the IFES Russia team concerning the 1996 presidential campaign and election, this report is also the product of longer term observation of electoral reforms in the region and on-going consultations with successive election authorities in the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation since 1989. It has been designed as a reference tool for those tasked with legal, institutional, and procedural reform of the electoral process. The authors have made every attempt to represent the facts accurately and objectively, and in so doing, have cross checked information with several sources whenever possible.

It should be acknowledged that the 16 June 1996 presidential election and 3 July 1996 second round voting further advanced the democratization and professionalization of election administration in Russia, for which election administrators, campaign participants, and the Russian people should be congratulated. This report is nevertheless very detailed and offers many suggestions and options with regard to refining the electoral process. Therefore the recommendations presented are rather technical. To better facilitate use of this report and to direct those who may have specific interests, IFES has provided grid at the end of the document which indexes technical recommendations by number, page, and affected articles of law.

There is an extensive list of people who should be recognized for their contributions to the substance and presentation of this report. In particular, IFES would like to thank Central Election Commission Chairman Nikolai Ryabov and Vice-chairman Alexander Ivanchenko for the access, cooperation, information, and expert analysis provided to IFES by members and staff of the Commission. IFES also owes much to the Head of the Judicial Chamber for Information Disputes, Anatoly Vengerov and his staff, and to Supreme Court Justice Alexander Fedin.

The IFES Russia team wishes to acknowledge the immeasurable benefit received from the insights of the representatives of the legislative and executive branches, candidate organizations and political parties, mass media, and subordinate election commissions who participated in IFES training events and responded to IFES mailings and surveys. Thanks are also extended to the authorized candidate representatives and deliberative voting members of the Yeltsin, Zyuganov, and Yavlinsky campaigns, who kept IFES advisors abreast of the relative success of transparency mechanisms and the adjudication of grievances process.

IFES is certainly indebted to the services provided by Alexander Postnikov of the Institute for Legislation and Comparative Law for frequently explaining and clarifying the intricacies of Russian election law and practice, commenting on the feasibility of various reform proposals, and assisting in the editing of this report.

IFES' technical assistance project in Russia was made possible through a grant from the US Agency for International Development.

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