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Russia ordered to reinforce protection of ballot boxes during vote

Moscow, Mar 15 (Prensa Latina) The Russian Central Electoral Commission (CEC) ordered all the local commissions of the country to reinforce the protection of ballot boxes due to several attempts to damage them, said today the president of the body, Ella Pamfilova.

This Friday, the first day of voting in the Russian presidential elections, there were several attempts to provoke incidents at polling stations, as well as to stain with ink and set fire to ballot boxes, Pamfilova said at a press conference at the CEC headquarters, Prensa Latina reported.

We have alerted to strengthen the polling stations with representatives of Rosgvardia (Russian National Guard) and the Ministry of the Interior, to avoid this type of incidents’, said the official.

She also reminded that such actions are punishable under Article 141 of the Criminal Code of Russia (Obstruction of the exercise of the right to vote or the work of election commissions) with up to five years of imprisonment.

Those arrested for damaging ballot boxes, he continued, admitted that they had done it for money and did not know about the criminal liability.

‘They are elements of terrorism,’ Pamfilova commented.

This Friday, several cases were recorded when voters sought to set fire to ballot boxes or voting booths, particularly in Moscow, the Chelyabinsk oblast, the Urals, and the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug in Siberia.

Another type of incidents was related to attempts to pour ink into ballot boxes, which took place, in particular, in the capital of the country, as well as in Sochi, Simferopol, Crimea and the Rostov, Voronezh regions.

This March 15, Russia’s polling stations opened their doors to elect the next president of the country.

Voting will last until March 17, making this the first three-day presidential election in Russia.

The ballots include four candidates: Leonid Slutski, for the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia; Nikolai Jaritonov, for the Communist Party of the Russian Federation; Vladislav Davankov, for New People; as well as incumbent Vladimir Putin, who is running as an independent.