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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Election Results Coming Via Mobile

Itar-TassVeshnyakov, shown Monday, said ballots must not include false candidates.
Central Elections Commission chief Alexander Veshnyakov said Monday that mobile phone users would have wireless access to the results of upcoming regional parliamentary contests.

The text-message service will be provided by mobile operators Mobile TeleSystems, Beeline and MegaFon, and will cost no more than 15 rubles per inquiry, he said.

Yekaterina Osadchaya, spokeswoman for VimpelCom, which operates the Beeline brand in Russia, said the service would be available as of 11 p.m. on election day, when preliminary results become available.

The elections, slated for March 11 in 14 regions, are considered a dress rehearsal for December's State Duma elections. Veshnyakov said the 15 parties on the ballot had spent nearly $28 million on the campaign.

Parties were stricken from ballots in 11 regions for a variety of violations, Veshnyakov said. The case of the Yabloko party, whose application to register was rejected in St. Petersburg and the Sverdlovsk region, has attracted the most attention.

The elections chief said he had submitted a proposal to the Federation Council calling for the elimination or reduction of the deposit that parties must pay to register for elections and to extend the period for gathering signatures.

Veshnyakov also expressed misgivings with the current party-list system of proportional representation. "It's essential that the candidates included in the party lists are real contenders, and that, if elected, they go on to serve in the legislature," Veshnyakov said, Interfax reported.

Veshnyakov was referring to the practice of stuffing party lists with popular candidates who have no plans to enter the legislature in an attempt to improve a party's performance at the polls.