Russia election: OSCE sees ‘numerous violations’
International observers have cited numerous violations in Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Russia. The OSCE said the polls were slanted in favour of pro-Kremlin party United Russia, noting apparent manipulation such as the stuffing of ballot boxes. But President Dmitry Medvedev said the vote was fair, honest and democratic. The election saw a sharp drop in support for United Russia, ahead of PM Vladimir Putin’s bid to return to the presidency next March. With 96% of votes counted, electoral officials said the party had just under 50%, down from 64% in 2007. The vote is being seen as a popularity test for Mr Putin.
Reading a communique, an official from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said the election had in general been “well organised” but there were severe problems with the counting process.
“The contest was also slanted in favour of the ruling party, the election administration lacked independence, most media were partial and state authorities interfered unduly at different levels,” said Petros Efthymiou.
Another observer, Heidi Tagliavini, said the elections had suffered because several opposition parties were barred from taking part.
“To me, this election was like a game in which only some players are allowed to compete,” she said. The OSCE report prompted US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to express “serious concerns” about the conduct of the election. Opposition parties have also complained of violations.
The Communist Party said it was preparing to challenge the “absolutely illegitimate” result in court, the RIA news agency said. Russia’s only independent monitoring group, Golos, says it has logged 5,300 complaints alleging violations.
Read full story here: BBC News
Category: World News |