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Russia's federal election commissioner is peeved about all the non-binding referendums planned on March 18


Ella Pamfilova, Russia’s federal election commissioner, isn’t happy about local officials around the country planning to stage non-binding referendums on March 18, the same day that Russia holds its next presidential election.

“They want to promote their own events at the expense of the presidential election. This is unacceptable!” Pamfilova said on Thursday, singling out Moscow’s local election commission, which approved a “school referendum” on extending the school week to six days. Pamfilova threatened to dissolve the commission an issue a no-confidence warning against its chairperson, Irina Konovalova. The commission immediately backed down, canceling the “referendum.”

More than 100 local non-binding referendums are planned on March 18. Volgograd wants to poll voters on daylight savings time, and localities in the Kirov region have a whole array of questions for the public.

In Moscow, City Hall pushed the idea of “school referendums.” Mayor Sergey Sobyanin has insisted that the concept was not designed to boost voter turnout by luring the public to the polls with the false promise of democratic participation.