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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

PACE Election Criticism ‘Logical’ - Russia

RIA Novosti

16:30 18/04/2012 MOSCOW, April 18 (RIA Novosti) - The report by a delegation of monitors from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Russia’s presidential elections is realistic while its criticism is logical, deputy head of the Russian delegation to the PACE, Alexander Pochinok said on Wednesday.

According to him, the final report, which is to be presented in Strasbourg later in April, says the violations in the course of the election were insignificant and did not affect the outcome.

“There are quite realistic things there,” he said referring to the report. “It describes how the election was conducted.”

He added, however, that the report may contain “amendments - not very nice amendments.”

He did not elaborate.

In a statement read out by the mission’s head, Dutch Senator Tiny Kox, the monitors said the March 4 presidential elections “had a clear winner” and were more transparent than previous polls, yet they “lacked broad citizens’ trust” and were marred by abuse of administrative resources in favor of candidate Vladimir Putin.

Putin, currently Russia's prime minister, won the presidential race with almost 64 percent of the vote, leaving four other candidates far behind. His closest rival, Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, garnered just over 17 percent, while the rest were even less successful.

Putin took the prime minister’s office after serving two terms as Russia’s president in 2000-2008, as the constitution barred him from running for a third consecutive presidential term. He is due to return to the Kremlin for a six-year tenure on May 7.

“According to some opinion polls, almost half of the voters did not consider these elections fair although a majority is now more or less satisfied with the results as such,” the statement said.

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