"Lack Transparency, Biased Coverage" Council of Europe Blasts Russian Election

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A monitoring mission team from the Council of Europe visits Moscow to evaluate the March 4th presidential elections. Their findings reveal lack of transparency and biased media coverage. Our Russian correspondents bring us the details.

The Council of Europe says last month's presidential election in Russia lacked transparency and was mistrusted by the Russian people.

That's the opinion of the post-election mission of the Council of Europe which spent a few days last week in Moscow.

[Tiny Cox, Head of the PACE Delegation to Russia]:
“Many of the interlocutors we met this week suspected substantial manipulation of votes, but that would be hard to prove due to the lack of a truly impartial referee in the electoral process.”

Among other drawbacks of the electoral process, the mission notes the use of administrative resources and biased coverage in the media in favor of one of the candidates.

Also, there were violations of vote counting procedures in many polling stations.

As for solutions to these problems, some will require new legislation.

[Tiny Cox, Head of the PACE Delegation to Russia]:
“A new law to modify and simplify the registration of political parties and a draft law to improve the function of election committees are necessary steps to meet the popular demands for fair election, that we heard.”

Domestic observers, such as the "Golos" association, reported widespread fraud – mostly conducted by groups of people bussed to polling stations and voting in more than one location.

Meanwhile, a new scandal broke out in last month municipal elections in the Astrakhan region of Russia. Local observers reported widespread fraud and unfair win of the candidate backed by the ruling party. Opposition candidate Oleg Shein has been on hunger strike for the past month demanding a recount of votes...

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