|23 May 2011
People's Freedom Party "For Russia without tyranny and corruption" must be registered, Mikhail Kasyanov stressed at the press conference after submission of documents to the Ministry of Justice. "There is no reason for refusal, we now think of our Duma campaign program," – he said in his opening remarks: "The first thing we will do in the State Duma is to initiate a law on guarantees of political freedoms".
Co-Chairs of the Party sent a letter to the Acting Chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Lithuania Audronius Azubalis, informing him of the start of registration process. They expressed confidence that the OSCE will monitor the electoral processes in Russia because the country lacks political pluralism.
People's Freedom Party also prepared a list of 12 priority legislative initiatives. It, in particular, includes the immediate release of political prisoners and those convicted for economic crimes, restore guarantees for media freedom, independence and impartiality of courts, reducing the terms of the Duma deputies and the president back to 4 years.
On Monday, representatives of the party filed the documents necessary for its registration with the Ministry of Justice. According to the law on political parties regional offices of the new party are established in 53 regions of Russia. As of date of submission, party membership reached 46,148 people.
Chairman-in-Office of the Organization
for Security and Cooperation in Europe,
Foreign Minister of the Republic of Lithuania
Dear Mr. Azubalis,
We, Co-Chairs of the newly established Russian People.s Freedom Party, write to you in your capacity as the Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the community of states strictly committed to the priority of fundamental human rights and freedoms and democratic principles of public life.
Elections to the State Duma – lower house of the Federal Assembly (Parliament) of the Russian Federation – are to be held in early December this year and presidential elections in March 2012. In this regard, we would like to draw your attention to the situation concerning access of various political forces to the elections in Russia.
Changes introduced in the Russian party and electoral legislation after the Beslan tragedy in September 2004 have established the system in which the right to nominate candidates for legislative bodies of state power, as well as candidates for elective public office, is reserved only for political parties. At the same time, the administrative regulatory requirements for establishment and registration of political parties have been manifestly increased. Due to deliberate actions of the Russian authorities the number of parties in the country has been reduced from 32 to 7, and despite numerous attempts to obtain registration, none of the new parties representing different parts of the political spectrum, was registered by the authorities under various technical pretexts. In fact, it means that hundreds of thousands of Russians have been deprived of their rights in terms of both active and passive suffrage.
As you know, as a result of recent amendments to the Russian Constitution the term in office of newly elected State Duma and president will be extended to 5 and 6 years respectively, and thus the importance of the upcoming elections that will predetermine the political course of our country in the long term, has increased markedly.
In accordance with the Copenhagen Document and other OSCE fundamental documents free registration of parties representing different political views and their unfettered access to election campaigns and the media should be guaranteed as a major characteristic of political pluralism. Otherwise, the elections can not be considered free and fair at the very outset.
We inform you that today we have submitted to the Ministry of Justice of Russia the necessary documents for state registration of the People's Freedom Party.
Expressing our satisfaction that the Programme of Lithuania.s OSCE Chairmanship commits support for constructive work and initiatives in member countries with regard to such important issues as freedom of association and election monitoring, we believe that registration of political parties and provision of real political pluralism in our country during the chairmanship of the Republic of Lithuania will be the subject of focused and principle-based observation by the OSCE, of which Russia is an integral part.
Mr. Chairman, please accept our assurances of the highest esteem.
May 23, 2011. Moscow
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