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  Tuesday, January 26, 2021
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Russia's Central Election Commission will select its new head at a session scheduled for March 26-27
Russia's Central Election Commission will select its new head at a session scheduled for March 26-27, the outgoing chief of the commission said Thursday. Alexander Veshnyakov, 54, who was the first post-Soviet election chief in the new democratic Russia, was not on the list of new candidates of the Central Election Commission confirmed by President Vladimir Putin, with nine months left before parliamentary elections and a year before the presidential polls. Veshnyakov, whose term as Russia's top election official expires March 26, told reporters that "the commission's chairman, deputy chairman and secretary will be elected by a secret vote." The Central Election Commission is formed by both houses of parliament and the president, with each of them offering five candidacies. Veshnyakov said he has no plans to become a politician when his term expires. He refused to comment on his future job but said he had received a number of interesting proposals and invitations to join three political parties. Veshnyakov opposed Putin's administrative reform of 2000-02, which replaced governors elected to the upper house by popular vote with regional representatives appointed by the president, and canceled gubernatorial elections. Veshnyakov also opposed a Kremlin-sponsored law that abolished the 20% minimum voter turnout requirement and canceled absentee ballots, but approved of a ban on negative television campaigning. Another initiative of the pro-Putin parliament that Veshnyakov refused to accept was a bill introducing additional reasons to deny candidates' registration, which he said could be used to deny registration to any undesirable candidate.
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