FM: Russian elections were free, democratic

Foreign minister says Israeli observers found no problem with Russian elections criticized by world leaders as fraudulent.

Lieberman Putin 311 R (photo credit: REUTERS/Alexsey Druginyn)
Lieberman Putin 311 R
(photo credit: REUTERS/Alexsey Druginyn)
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a Wednesday meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow that Russia's elections were free and democratic, Israel Radio reported. He based his assessment on determinations by Israeli observers participating in the election monitoring, he said.
Lieberman's position is opposed to the views of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the White House and former Russian leaders, which expressed concern over irregularities in the recent parliamentary election.
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Lieberman went on to criticize Russian support for unilateral Palestinian moves seeking UN recognition, and expressed hope that Russia will consider Israel's positions on Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.
The main international observer mission in Russia said Monday that the parliamentary election was unfairly slanted in favor of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's ruling party and marred by apparent manipulations including ballot box stuffing.
The campaign for Sunday's election was marked by "limited political competition and a lack of fairness," observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly said.
The vote count "was characterized by frequent procedural violations and instances of apparent manipulation, including several serious indications of ballot box stuffing," the monitors said in their preliminary report.
Reuters contributed to this report.