Russian State Duma lawmakers agreed on Tuesday to create a working group to investigate reports of violations in the December 2011 parliamentary polls, one of its members, Vladimir Pligin, said.
“The group’s goal is to analyze all existing claims and rebukes regarding the results of December elections and to continue work to improve the legislation regulating the operation of election commissions,” Pligin, lawmaker from the pro-Kremlin United Russia party who heads the parliamentary Constitution Committee, said during Tuesday’s parliamentary session.
Reports of mass fraud in favor of United Russia in last year’s vote have triggered mass street protests across Russia, challenging the authority of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in the run-up to the March 4 presidential elections, which he eventually won.
Protesters have demanded that the results of the parliamentary polls, in which United Russia gained almost half of the vote, be cancelled and new elections are held. They cited hundreds of videos published on the internet by volunteer observers featuring what appeared to be cases of ballot stuffing, multiple voting and other fraud at polling stations across Russia.
International observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) also said the polls were slanted in favor of United Russia. The Russian authorities and Central Election Commission have dismissed the allegations, with President Dmitry Medvedev describing the vote as “the fairest in the history” of modern Russia.
The parliamentary working group in charge of investigating the alleged fraud will involve three lawmakers from each of the four parliamentary parties – the United Russia, the Communists, the Liberal Democratic Party, and A Just Russia.