Ex-rights ombudsman named Russia's election chief ahead of polls

28th March 2016, Comments 0 comments

Russia's former human rights ombudsman Ella Pamfilova was on Monday appointed the country's top elections chief ahead of parliamentary polls this year.

Her candidacy was approved by the majority of members of the central election commission.

Russia will hold parliamentary elections this September amid a prolonged economic crisis due in part to the fall in oil prices and Western sanctions over the Kremlin's role in Ukraine.

President Vladimir Putin earlier this month dropped the controversial chief of the election commission Vladimir Churov dubbed the "magician" by the marginalised opposition.

Churov -- who had headed the election commission since 2007 -- has been accused by critics of presiding over mass election fraud to ensure victories for the Kremlin.

Pamfilova, 62, said the commission's task was to ensure that all Russians have "equal voting rights."

"So that there is trust in elections, so that people want to take part in polls so that they feel that the situation in the country really depends on their votes," she said.

Experts say Pamfilova's appointment is apparently aimed at lending more legitimacy to the upcoming polls but will change little given the Kremlin's tight grip on the political system including parliament, court and media.

Putin has earlier warned that "foreign enemies" were seeking to disrupt the elections and tasked the FSB security service with preventing any such interference.

© 2016 AFP

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