Chechen Constitution Referendum to Meet Schedule Regardless of PACE stance

The Chechen Constitution referendum will meet the schedule, Head of the Russian delegation at a session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs Dmitry Rogozin said. According to him, Russia does not have to take into account the Council of Europe's opinion on holding a referendum in a subject of the Russian Federation.

Rogozin spoke about a Tuesday morning session of the PACE political commission which debated amendments to the text submitted by Head of the PACE delegation Lord Judd following his trip to the North Caucasus.

Among other amendments there was one by the Russian delegation with demands to cross out from Lord Judd's text a statement where the Assembly insists on shifting the referendum date.

"I believe that by doing so the Assembly turns its back upon the constitutional process it has been supporting," Rogozin said.

According to him, the reasons Lord Judd gives for shifting the referendum date are ridiculous.

We can't agree with Lord Judd that the referendum must be suspended because some Chechens haven't yet read the Constitution, Rogozin noted.

"I believe that the key issue of political settlement in Chechnya is forming legal grounds for conducting further elections with gradual transfer of power from extraordinary administrations to civil administrations. And any attempt to suspend it means the disruption of the political process," the Head of the Russian delegation emphasized.

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