Russia’s presidential elections were “clearly skewed” in favour of the winner, Vladimir Putin, monitors with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have said. Preliminary results showed that Mr Putin, who is currently prime minister, won more than 63% of votes. There have been widespread claims of fraud and vote violations, and the OSCE said the result was “never in doubt”. Opposition groups have called for mass protests against Mr Putin’s win. In a statement, the OSCE said while all candidates had been able to campaign freely, there had been “serious problems” from the start, conditions were “clearly skewed in favour of one of the contestants, current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin”.
“The point of elections is that the outcome should be uncertain,” said spokesman Tonino Picula. “This was not the case in Russia. There was no real competition and abuse of government resources ensured that the ultimate winner of the election was never in doubt.”
The election was held against a backdrop of discontent, sparked by allegations of widespread fraud during December’s parliamentary elections in favour of Mr Putin’s United Russia party. The OSCE said that “demands for honest elections by citizens and candidates led to greater civic involvement in observation efforts to enhance the integrity of the process. “But the process deteriorated during the vote count which was assessed negatively in almost one-third of polling stations observed due to procedural irregularities.”
Full Article: BBC News – Russia election ‘clearly skewed’ for Putin – OSCE.