Members of Illegal Armed Formations Will Be Able to Vote on Draft Chechen Constitution - 22 March, 2003

On Saturday at a press conference in Grozny Abdul-Kerim Arsakhanov, chairman of the republican election commission, stated that members of illegal armed formations would be able to vote on the draft Chechen constitution and election laws of the republic.

He stressed that Shamil Basayev could also take part in the referendum but he might be detained during the visit to the polling station. Arsakhanov stated that militants might hang their arms on walls, come to a polling station as any other citizens of the republic and having produced their identities to take part in the voting procedure.

But at the same time Arsakhkanov stated that there law enforcement bodies might detain people who are on a wanted list.

Arsakhanov reported that in total, according to specified information, 540,445 voters were registered in Chechnya without taking into account temporarily displaced persons outside the territory of the Chechen republic. According to him, servicemen of military units permanently stationed in Chechnya were also included in the voting lists. Arsakhanov stated that their number reached about 300,000 people.

He also pointed out that persons sentenced to imprisonment or staying in the pre-trial detention center in the settlement of Chernokozovo might also express their opinion in relation to the Fundamental law under which the Chechen republic was going to live and develop.

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