“Nationwide voting in the Russian Federation on constitutional amendments concluded on 1 July. Some amendments concern changes in the political system and the work of the executive, legislative and judicial branches” reads the text of the statement, attribued to the European External Action Service (EEAS)spokesperson.
“The European Union regrets that, in the run up to this vote, campaigning both for and against was not allowed, thereby denying voters access to balanced information.
“We expect all reports and allegations of irregularities, including voter coercion, multiple voting, violation of secrecy of the vote and allegations of police violence against a journalist who was present to observe, to be duly investigated.
“An addition to Article 79 of the Constitution provides for primacy of the Russian Constitution over decisions of interstate bodies based on international treaties. The Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, of which Russia is a member, has considered this addition incompatible with Russia’s international obligations and recommended that this addition be removed or the wording amended. We expect Russia, regardless of any amendments to its constitution, to live up to its international obligations, including its obligation to execute European Court of Human Rights judgements”.
Statement by Members of the European Parliament David McAllister and Tomas Tobé on the constitutional referendum in Russia.
“A constitutional referendum took place in Russia from 25 June to 1 July.
The European Parliament has not been invited to observe this electoral process, and consequently will neither comment on the process nor on the results that will be announced afterwards. No individual Member of the European Parliament has been mandated to observe or comment on this electoral process on its behalf.
Therefore, any Member of the European Parliament who decided to observe this electoral process in the Russian Federation, or in the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula, where the European Union does not and will not recognise the holding of this consultation, has done so on her/his own initiative and should under no circumstances through any statement or action, associate her/his participation with the European Parliament.”
Mr McAllister (EPP, DE) and Mr Tobé (EPP, SE) are Co-Chairs of the European Parliament’s Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group.
Image: European Parliament building, Strasbourg
President Vladimir Putin signed the package of constitutional reforms he had proposed, including a clause giving him an option to run for more terms.
The Kremlin has published the 68-page law proposal for the constitutional reforms on the official website. Putin’s signature triggers a special procedure for the package, which differs from the way laws usually go into effect.
The proposed reforms were handed to the Russian Constitutional Court which has a week to rule on whether to approve the law, which would reset Putin’s constitutional limit of two terms in power, and open an opportunity to stay indefinetely at power.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, triumphed in a huge election win for lawmakers who favor revising Japan’s post-war pacifist constitution, signaling an advancement towards his long-held goal, but will need to convince a divided public opinion to succeed.
“We won a two-thirds majority as the ruling bloc, but it is necessary to strive to form a wide-ranging agreement among the ruling bloc and opposition,” Abe told a news conference, reflecting on modification of constitution. “And then we aim to win the understanding of the people, so that we can gain a majority in a referendum,” Abe added.
Abe proposed last May adding a clause to Article 9 to legitimize Japan’s Self-Defence Force. Read literally, Article 9 bans a standing military but has been interpreted to allow armed forces exclusively for self defense.