Thursday, November 01, 2007

Russia: Cold balls in State Duma election

The Moscow Times reports that an opposition party has accused United Russia of using a cold ball in an attempt to steal first place on the ballot in next month's State Duma elections.

In the lottery, conducted by the Central Elections Commission, representatives from each of the 11 parties on the ballot took a plastic ball out of a transparent container. Each ball contained a number.

Anton Bakov, campaign manager for the Union of Right Forces, or SPS, said that before the drawing began, he reached into the container to feel the balls - prompting angry shouts from elections commission staff and from a senior United Russia official - and found that one ball was colder than the others.

The complaint alleges that the ball had been refrigerated in advance so the United Russia representative would know which one to select to secure the No. 1 spot.