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Massive Security Effort Set For Chechen Elections

21 November 2005 -- Some 24,000 police and Russian soldiers will provide security during Chechnya's parliamentary election later this month.

The 27 November parliamentary poll will be the first since the conflict between separatist rebels and Russian forces began in 1999.

Russia's first deputy interior minister, Aleksandr Chekalin, said an additional 3,500 troops would be ready to boost security, if needed. Chekalin said security has already been beefed up at polling stations as well as at more than 180 strategic sites in the restive republic.

Early voting has already started, with guards on the Chechen-Georgian border in the Itum-Cale area casting ballots on Sunday.

Today, Itar-tass quoted election officials as saying that seven registered candidates have withdrawn from the race. It was not said immediately why.

(ITAR-TASS/INTERFAX)

Copyright (c) 2005. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org



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