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- Sergei Pospelov: CSTO PA international observation is an effective factor in ensuring national electoral sovereignty
Executive Secretary of the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly Sergei Pospelov made a speech at the IPA CIS international research-to-practice conference Technologies of Electoral Process and Monitoring of Elections.
“Elections are a crucial component of a true democracy. Their outcome largely predetermines the future vector of sovereign development of a country, its political and state structures and civil society institutions. Free elections are one of the most important democratic ways of legitimization of state power and selection and fostering of democratic sociopolitical elite and responsible voters,” CSTO PA Executive Secretary Sergei Pospelov noted in his speech.
Sergei Pospelov recalled that the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly has been independently involved in international monitoring of elections and referenda since 2015.
Since 2016, as Sergei Pospelov noted, under the leadership of Vyacheslav Volodin, Chairman of the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly, Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, the Organization’s capacity to ensure the electoral sovereignty of the CSTO States has been actively implemented.
The initiative to invite international observers from the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly to an election was first taken by the authorized bodies of the Republic of Kazakhstan in 2015, and then again in 2019 and 2021 at the parliamentary and presidential elections.
Moreover, international observers from the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly have repeatedly monitored the electoral process in the Kyrgyz Republic (in 2015, 2017, 2020 and 2021) and the Russian Federation (in 2016 and 2018).
The CSTO PA Executive Secretary stressed that the activities of the CSTO PA observer missions were highly praised by the public authorities of the CSTO Member States and civil society as a counterweight to the pressure of sanctions and attempts to interfere in the national affairs.
“CSTO PA international observers’ work has become an effective factor in ensuring national electoral sovereignty, making it possible to block the spread of false stories and fake news, attempts to question the maturity and sustainability of national electoral systems and their compliance with universal and regional international obligations.”
Sergei Pospelov recalled that there is a large group of international organizations that deal with international observation of elections and referenda, contributing to the progressive development of democracy. None of them, however, has such a coherent and binding international legal framework as that of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
First and foremost, it is the Convention on Standards of Democratic Elections, the Voting Rights and Freedoms in the State Parties of the Commonwealth of Independent States (it remains open for accession by other states).
The Convention’s uniqueness lies in the fact that for the first time in international practice, the standards of democratic elections (the right of a citizen to elect and be elected to bodies of state power and bodies of local self-government, other bodies of popular (national) representation; periodic and mandatory, fair, genuine, free elections based on universal, equal suffrage and held by secret ballot, which ensure free expression of the will of voters; open and public elections; judicial and other protection of electoral rights and freedoms of a human being and citizen; public and international observation of elections; guarantees for realization of electoral rights and freedoms of participants in the electoral process) were formalized as a mandatory, rather than advisory, international legal instrument. Article 15 of the Convention defines the status and powers of international observers.
Subsequently, on the basis of the Convention, other documents establishing uniform rules for the organization and monitoring of electoral procedures in the CIS were developed as part of the legislative activities of the CIS and the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the CIS Member Nations: Regulations on the Observer Mission of the Commonwealth of Independent States at Presidential and Parliamentary Elections and Referenda in the Member Nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States (Decision of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Member Nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States of March 26, 2004), IPA CIS Declaration of Principles for International Election and Referendum Observation in the Member Nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States (approved on November 25, 2008), Recommendations for International Election and Referendum Observers from the Commonwealth of Independent States (new version approved by the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the CIS Member Nations on May 16, 2011).