Russian voters given more leeway

April 22, 2013 at 12:49 PM
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MOSCOW, April 22 (UPI) -- Russian voters have more rights to challenge their ability to take part in the political process, the Russian constitutional court ruled Monday.

The court has reviewed the constitutionality of state Duma elections. Duma representative to the court Dmitry Vyatkin said voters can seek recourse if their right to vote was violated, state-owned news agency RIA Novosti reports.

"A voter's right to control the counting of the votes is not formally recognized," a court statement added. "Therefore, the court can reject suits related to this, and thus, the clauses in question are in conflict with the constitution."

The court ruled that lawmakers should make amendments to procedures so voters can complain about the election results at their individual polling stations.

Anti-government sentiment in Russia escalated in late 2011 when the United Russia Party, once led by Russian President Vladimir Putin, maintained its leadership in State Duma elections. Putin's re-election to a third non-consecutive term as president last year sparked further protests.

Lawmakers in the State Duma are chosen from a list based on the national votes each party receives. A measure proposed by Putin last month would split membership in the 450-member lower house of Parliament between candidates chosen from party lists and those elected directly.

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