According to RT, The Committee for Constitutional Legislation of the Russian lower house has recommended MP’s support a bill calling for the reinstating of an official ‘none of the above option’ on ballots for municipal and regional elections.
This NOTA option was first introduced at elections in Russia in 1991. It was then scrapped in 2006 for ‘financial reasons’. Now, they are considering re-instating it.
This is a very interesting development. Clearly, Russia under Vladimir Putin is not known for its championing of human rights and democracy. And it could of course be argued that, in what is essentially a dictatorship, allowing such a pro-democracy option to exist amounts to nothing more than a PR gesture, as there are certainly more ways than one to discourage dissent and influence voters at election time in such a country.
That said, what is striking about this move is that the form of NOTA in question, whilst falling short of applying across the board nationally as we are campaigning for in the UK, is very much closer to the kind of NOTA with teeth that we are calling for than the faux-NOTA that exists elsewhere (more on the difference here).
This is, to our knowledge, the first and only time that a country has implemented, ditched and then proposed to reinstate an official NOTA option with real ramifications for the election result if it gets the most votes. A step in the right direction and definitely one to watch in our view!
More info on the NOTA with teeth that we are calling for in the UK can be found here.