style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>EU calls for investigation into allegations of irregularities in Russian referendum vote
By Zoe Didili
Journalist, New Europe
epa08520762 A man votes during the main day of a nationwide vote on amendments to the Russian Constitution at a polling station in Podolsk, outside Moscow, Russia, 01 July 2020. The counting of the results for all seven days will begin on July 1 after the closing of polling stations. EPA-EFE/MAXIM SHIPENKOV The nationwide vote on amendments to the Russian Constitution has started on 25 June and will run for seven days until 01 July. EPA-EFE/MAXIM SHIPENKOV
A man votes during the main day of a nationwide vote on amendments to the Russian Constitution at a polling station in Podolsk, outside Moscow, Russia, 01 July 2020.
The European Union has called for an investigation into allegations that a referendum vote in Russia that gave President Vladimir Putin the opportunity to rule until 2036, was held under “irregular” conditions. In its statement, the EU heavily criticised that campaigning both for and against was not allowed, citing that voters were deprived of access to balanced information. On Friday, the Russian president signed the decree that brings into force the package of constitutional amendments, and which is set to come into force on July 4. As the constitutional changes also clarify the priority of Russian law over international law, the EU called on Russia to respect its international obligations, including its obligation to execute European Court of Human Rights judgements. On June 2, Kremlin saw Vladimir Putin winning almost 78% of the votes in a nationwide referendum on amendments to the Russian Constitution. “We expect all reports and allegations of irregularities, including voter coercion, multiple voting, violation of secrecy of the vote and allegations of police violence against a journalist who was present to observe, to be duly investigated,” a spokesperson by the EU foreign service said in a statement on Thursday. One of them resets Putin’s term-limit clock to zero, allowing him to run for reelection for two more six-year terms. The voting procedure kickstarted on June 25 and run for seven days, leading to a landslide victory for Putin and to more than 200 constitutional amendments being approved.