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Alexander Veshnyakov has noted that the CEC originally wanted to organize Chechen presidential elections together with parliamentary elections
Alexander Veshnyakov, chairman of the Central Election Commission, has noted that the Central Election Commission originally wanted to organize Chechen presidential elections together with parliamentary elections. "We wanted to arrange the elections of the Chechen president and parliament at the same time, but then we decided that it would not be sensible to hold them together," he said at his meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, a resort of the Black Sea. Mr. Veshnyakov also came out for holding parliamentary elections as early as possible. "Elections to the Chechen parliament should not be postponed, they should be held next spring, if not this year," said Mr. Veshnyakov. President Putin concurred with the Central Election Commission chairman. "I agree and I'm ready to support [this idea], but they [the elections] should be prepared together with the newly elected president." Alexander Veshnyakov briefed President Putin on preparations for the presidential elections in Chechnya scheduled for August 29. "Arrangements for the elections are coming to a close, 470 local election commissions employing 4,000 people have been set up," Mr. Veshnyakov said at his meeting with the Russian president in Sochi. In his words, the only problem today is checking voters' lists. Mr. Veshnyakov expressed the hope that this problem would soon be addressed. According to the chairman of the Central Election Commission, the elections of the Chechen president will be monitored by CIS, OSCE, Arab League and OIC (Islamic Conference Organization) observers. "We have no obligations, but the Chechen leadership has invited observers from the CIS, OSCE, Arab League and OIC in a goodwill gesture," said Alexander Veshnyakov. According to his forecast, 20-30 people will represent these organizations at the elections. Presidential elections in Chechnya will be held because President Akhmad Kadyrov was killed in a terrorist attack on May 9, 2004. In all, seven candidates will be running for president, with experts pointing out local Interior Minister Alu Alkhanov as a favorite. Mr. Veshnyakov told the president that the Central Election Commission had received an invitation from the International Foundation for Election System (IFES) to attend the elections of the U.S. president in November. "We will accept the invitation, as it will be instructive for Russia, and exchange of information is essential for the development of election systems," said Mr. Veshnyakov. The chairman of the Central Election Commission also reported to Vladimir Putin about the work over the draft convention on the standards of elections, voting rights and freedoms in Europe. The draft convention is being developed on Russia's initiative. Mr. Veshnyakov added that this spring, the Venice Commission of election law experts studied the draft convention on PACE's request and concluded that it was well-thought-out and timely. "Proceeding from the commission's conclusion, I will present this draft convention to you for Russia to be able to put forward this document for the Council of Europe's consideration," said Alexander Veshnyakov.
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