France joins int'l criticism of Russian election

International monitors claim elections skewed to favor Putin; France's Juppe says vote was far from exemplary.

By REUTERS
March 5, 2012 17:50
1 minute read.
Russian protests against Putin

Russian protests against Putin_390. (photo credit: Alexander Damianchuk/Reuters)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Joining a chorus of international criticism, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Monday that Russia's presidential election was not exemplary, but added that France stood ready to work with Vladimir Putin.

"The election has not been exemplary. That is the least you can say," Juppe said during a news conference in the southwestern city of Bordeaux.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


"Putin has been re-elected by a large majority, so France, and her European partners, will pursue its partnership with Russia," Juppe said.

International monitors on Monday said that the election was clearly skewed to favor Vladimir Putin, a verdict that could spur protesters planning to take to the streets to challenge his right to rule.

Putin, who secured almost 64 percent of votes on Sunday, portrayed his emphatic victory for a third term as president as a strong mandate to deal with the biggest anti-Kremlin protests since he rose to power in 2000.

But hours before protests were planned to start in central Moscow, vote monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) echoed his opponents' complaints that the election was slanted against them.

OSCE monitors said Putin still had an advantage over his rivals in the media and that state resources were used to help him extend his domination of Russia for six more years.



Expressing concerns which a European Union spokeswoman said were shared by the 27-country bloc, the monitors called for all allegations of irregularities to be thoroughly investigated.

Although the observers' findings have no legal bearing, they undermine Russian election officials' statements that there were no serious violations.

They would also support some in their view that elections ultimately have little real significance in Russia; that power is something tightly controlled and divided up by a largely stable ruling clique, as demonstrated by the 'tandem' power deal struck by Putin and current president Dmitry Medvedev in 2008.

Putin's opponents, fearing he will smother political and economic reforms, have refused to recognize the result, which could allow the former KGB spy to rule Russia for as long as Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, accused of presiding over "the years of stagnation".

Putin has already served as president or premier for 12 consecutive years and made way for his ally Medvedev in 2008 only because of constitutional limits.

Related Content

Anti-government protesters demonstrate on a street in central Ankara
June 16, 2013
Thousands take to streets of Istanbul, defy Erdogan

By REUTERS