COPENHAGEN, 14 October 2011 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Petros Efthymiou of Greece was appointed today by Lithuanian Foreign Minister and OSCE Chair-in-Office Audronius Azubalis to lead the short term OSCE observer mission to the parliamentary elections in the Russian Federation 4 December.

President Efthymiou will also head the delegation of parliamentary observers of the OSCE PA. An experienced election observer, this will be Efthymiou's tenth observation mission as a member of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, and third time heading an observation mission. He will deliver the post-election statement on behalf of the OSCE at a press conference in Moscow on 5 December.

Together with OSCE PA Secretary General Spencer Oliver, Efthymiou next week will pay a pre-election visit to the country, where they are scheduled to meet with Russian Central Election Commission Chairman Vladimir Churov, Chairman of the State Duma Boris Gryzlov, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The OSCE PA has observed six parliamentary elections in Russia since 1993, and since 1999, the election observation missions have been led by Presidents of the Assembly. In 2007, when ODIHR chose not to observe due to the limitations placed on the size of the mission, the OSCE was represented by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly which worked in co-operation with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

"We look forward to continuing our record of full observation of parliamentary elections in the Russian Federation," Oliver said today. "During the pre-election visit next week, we will continue the election observation project that was launched this summer, building on our constructive dialogue with Chairman Churov and others."

The OSCE election observation mission will be carried out in accordance with a 1997 Co-operation Agreement between the OSCE PA and the OSCE/ODIHR, and will assess the parliamentary elections on the basis of Russia's election-related commitments as an OSCE participating State, as laid out in the 1990 OSCE Copenhagen Document.

The OSCE PA has organized 111 election observation missions involving more than 3,500 parliamentarians.