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Observers on Russian Duma elections: ‘playing field slanted in favour of United Russia’

Strasbourg, 23.01.2011 – The playing field for Russia’s parliamentary elections was “slanted in favour of United Russia”, according to a report by PACE’s election observers made public today, and debated by the Assembly.

Although the seven political parties running created the possibility of real competition, the denial of registration to certain parties had “narrowed political competition”, the report, presented by Tiny Kox (Netherlands, UEL), concluded.

However it also added: “Fortunately, the President of the Russian Federation has announced a comprehensive reform of the Russian political system, including a drastic simplification of the rules governing the registration of parties”.

The observers said that, overall, while the elections were technically well administered across a vast territory, they were “marked by a convergence of the state and the governing party, limited political competition and a lack of fairness”. They also concluded that the elections clearly lacked “an impartial referee”.