Chechen officials brief PACE on preparations for referendum

Chechen administration head Akhmed-hadji Kadyrov in Mineralnye Vody on 22 January assured Lord Frank Judd, the co-chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe-Russian State Duma working group on Chechnya, that preparations for the 23 March referendum on a new draft Chechen constitution and election legislation are almost complete, Russian news agencies reported. Kadyrov said an estimated 17,000 Chechen displaced persons still in Ingushetia will have the opportunity to cast their ballots. At a meeting in Grozny the same day with members of the Chechen Election Commission, Judd posed a series of questions concerning how many people were involved in drafting the new basic law and whether the independent media were able to participate in the debate on its merits and shortcomings, ITAR-TASS reported. LF


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