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Presidential election in Russia: a clear winner, but voter's choice limited and a lack of fairness

Strasbourg, 23.04.2012 - The 4 March presidential election in Russia showed "a clear winner with an absolute majority", but the voter's choice was limited, the electoral competition lacked fairness and an impartial referee was missing, according to the final report of PACE's delegation to observe the election.

"Due to increased citizen awareness and involvement, these elections were more lively, better managed and more seriously observed," said the report, by delegation head Tiny Kox (Netherlands, UEL).

"Although all candidates were able to campaign unhindered, conditions were clearly skewed in favour of one of the contestants, the current Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin," the report noted.

Administrative preparations for voting day were efficient and the voting process itself was assessed positively overall. However, procedural irregularities were noted, mainly during the vote counting.

The delegation recommended that Russia build public confidence in its elections by making use of the increase in civic involvement and by improving the transparency and fairness of the entire electoral process.

In particular, the dialogue which has begun between government, parliament and non-parliamentary parties should continue in order to make political change “substantial and sustainable”.