Russia: Get out and vote!
As political forecasters predict yet another low voter turnout for next week's elections, it's not only pols and campaign managers who are worrying about an apathetic electorate. According to Russia's Pravda, the Russian Parliament, or Duma, last week drafted a resolution calling for international monitoring of the U.S. presidential elections.
"Taking into consideration the growing influence of USA upon the affairs of the world community," the document is quoted as saying, the fact that "in practice half the electorate don't participate" make it "impossible to reveal the wish of the population." The statement requests the United Nations and other organizations monitor the polling "which guarantees the common democratic standards [of] compliance."
Deanna Congilio, a spokeswoman for the Atlanta-based Carter Center, internationally recognized for its election supervision in countries around the world, says she is unaware of any requests for the center to oversee the U.S. elections, and officials with the Federal Elections Commis-sion also knew nothing of the Duma's action. Attempts to reach the Russian bureau of the U.S. State Department for comment were unsuccessful.
But the Russians obviously mean business. "In case the U.S. administration puts obstacles in the way of the international monitoring of the presidential elections," concludes the resolution, "the State Duma will call for the world community to reject the results of the elections and press for the repeated election under the patronage of the [United Nations]."