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European observers criticise Russian elections

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-12-05

European monitors raised concerns over the voting process in Russia's elections on Monday, citing limited political competition, ballot box stuffing and the ruling party's alleged use of government resources for its own purposes.

AP - Russia’s parliamentary election was tilted in favor of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s party and marred by violations, but voters still took advantage of having a choice, European monitors said Monday.

The monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and other European institutions said in a statement that Sunday’s vote was marked by the convergence of the state and Putin’s United Russia party, limited political competition and a lack of fairness.

The European observers said the vote was tainted by frequent procedural violations and instances of apparent manipulations, including serious indications of ballot box stuffing.

“To me, this election was like a game in which only some players are allowed to compete,” mission head Heidi Tagliavini said at a news conference.

Despite the uneven playing field and allegations of violations during the vote, the United Russia party saw its parliament majority weaken sharply to just about 50 percent in Sunday’s vote.

Although seven political parties took part in the race, the OSCE pointed at the prior denial of registration to some opposition parties that had narrowed political competition. Monitors said the election administration lacked independence, most media were partial and state authorities interfered unduly at different levels.

This “did not provide the conditions for fair electoral competiton,” said Petros Efthymiou, coordinator of the short-term observation mission. “Changes are needed for the will of the people to be respected.”

Date created : 2011-12-05

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