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Approximately twenty international observers will gather in Chechnya to monitor its early presidential election on Sunday, August 29
Approximately twenty international observers will gather in Chechnya to monitor its early presidential election on Sunday, August 29, says Alexander Veshnyakov, Russian Central Election Commission chairman. The CIS Executive Committee has confirmed involvement, and will send ten observers or so. The LAS-League of Arab States, and the OIC-Organization of the Islamic Conference-say they are willing to monitor. The OSCE, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, has not yet said whether it will take part, what with too many national election campaigns coming up-in particular, in Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Belarus. Russia's federal MPs will also be present to come up for groups in the State Duma, lower house, and for the various parts of Russia in the Federation Council, upper house. The Council of Russia's Muftis also intends to monitor the event, says Mr. Veshnyakov. Federal military units permanently stationed in Chechnya are welcome to the polls. 23 to 25 thousand soldiers are expected to vote, Abdul-Kerim Arsakhanov, Chechen Election Commission chairman, said to the media after the Central Election Commission finished its session this afternoon. Ten to fifteen thousand Chechen refugees will vote in areas that border on Chechnya, where they are putting up, added Alexander Veshnyakov. Safety is among crucial aspects of the forthcoming poll. More than 4,000 policemen are guarding polling stations even now, say spokesmen of the regional operation headquarters for North Caucasian anti-terrorist operation. Law enforcement agencies and secret services are taking extraordinary precautions now that pre-election routine is drawing to its finish. All polling stations are under heavy police guard round the clock, with the greatest attention for highland areas. Patrols have changed their itineraries to get as close to the stations as possible. The stations have a solid stock of stationary and portable metal detectors. Investigation and detection crews have been reinforced, just in case. Officers on checkpoint duty will vote at itinerant polling stations, a headquarters spokesman said to Novosti.
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