Russia

Russia's President, Electoral Commission Chief discuss preparations for Chechen Constitution referendum

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Russian President Vladimir Putin had a routine meeting with Central Electoral Commission Chairman Alexander Veshnyakov in the Kremlin Friday.
The two men discussed preparations for a referendum on the Chechen Constitution and the enactment of a law on the Chechen presidency.

Putin called Veshnyakov's attention to the fact that some foreign officials had repeatedly expressed concern over the Chechen population being poorly informed about the Constitution and the presidential election bill. He stressed the importance of making enough copies to go round so that Chechnya's residents would not have to blind vote.

Veshnyakov said that with the referendum still two months away, there would be enough time to distribute the 50,000 copies just hot of the press throughout Chechnya and also among refugee camps outside the republic. But Putin said this was too few as, in his view, the text of the Constitution should be available to all inhabitants of Chechnya, even to minors. Chechnya needs the Constitution to be able to establish its own executive bodies and to protect the interests of its people, he pointed out.

The President then asked the Central Electoral Commission Chairman how international organizations felt about Chechnya's draft constitution and its presidential election bill. Veshnyakov reported that copies of both documents had been circulated among top OSCE and PACE officials and that they all gave a positive appraisal to the drafts, describing them as "interesting." Russia's Central Electoral Commission is going to provide copies for other international organizations, too, Veshnyakov said. This will be a gesture of good will on the part of the Commission, as letting foreign observers read a country's interior draft laws is not something mandatory, he emphasized. (RIA Novosti)