Chechen Referendum Proves Chechens Want to Return to Russian Legal Framework

The results of Sunday's Referendum on the Chechen Constitution and on laws on presidential and parliamentary elections "show how much Chechen people wish their republic to return to Russia's legal framework and to occupy its niche among other constituent members." This was disclosed Monday by Chairman of the Federation Council Committee of Constitutional Legislation Yury Sharandin.

Chechnya has the opportunity of forming its own legislative base and therefore has an equal status with the other Russian regions, the Senator stressed.

According to Sharandin, the high turnout of more than 80% means that the results of the voting are legitimate. In accordance with the fundamental law of the country, the people are bearers of the sovereignty and the supreme authority in Russia "and the will of people was expressed at the referendum," Sharandin emphasised.

Moreover, according to the Senator, the number of those who voted in favour of the constitution and laws (over 96%) means that the Chechen people were not only active but unanimous as well.

The international observers who attended the referendum outlined the legitimate and democratic aspects of the referendum and that "the measures concerning the security provision under the separatists' pressure were not excessive," Sharandin said.

Sharandin also pointed out the "psychological effect" of Sunday's voting in Chechnya. "The world society witnessed the solidarity of Chechen citizens, their sentiments and decisiveness," he said. According to the Senator, the task of Russian parliamentarians and diplomats, concerning the rightfulness of the Russian position in the Chechen issue, will be much easier. Next week, the Chechen issue will be discussed at a regular session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, he said.

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