In an official statement yesterday the OSCE’ s Permanent Council described the legislative elections just held in Chechnya as "unfree and unfair" and "incompatible with OSCE principles." The statement further said that the decision to hold those elections contravenes the armistice agreements signed June 10 in Nazran. That agreement had provided for holding Chechen elections only after the withdrawal of Russian troops and the demilitarization of the republic, the OSCE statement recalled. The OSCE thus vindicates the remonstrations of its mission in Chechnya and of the Chechen resistance against Moscow’ s violation of the armistice.
The Russian government’s commission on the Chechnya settlement, chaired by Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, accepted yesterday the report of Chechnya’s authorities on the elections held there. The report claimed a turnout of 74 percent and credited Boris Yeltsin with 64 percent of the votes cast in the presidential election. It said turnout was 58 percent in the Chechen legislative election and claimed that most of the "people’ s assembly’s" seats have been filled. Participants of the Moscow commission’s session noted "the opinion of certain observers that the figure was exaggerated, but left the moral responsibility for such judgments to their authors."
The Chechen resistance leadership for its part noted in a statement that "the population fully ignored the June 16 electoral farce." Most correspondents’ reports from the scene corroborate this assessment. The resistance did not undertake operations to disrupt the elections. Sporadic shooting was reported from Grozny and a few other locations in Chechnya yesterday and this morning. (Itar-Tass, Interfax, Western agencies, June 18 & 19)
Latvia’s President Ulmanis Reelected.