The organisation for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) have released a statement condemning the Russian elections over the weekend, saying they were “clearly skewed” in favour of current Prime Minister and Kremlin-favourite Vladimir Putin.
“There were serious problems from the very start of this election. The point of elections is that the outcome should be uncertain. This was not the case in Russia. There was no real competition and abuse of government resources ensured that the ultimate winner of the election was never in doubt,” said Tonino Picula, the Special Co-ordinator to lead the short-term OSCE observer mission and Head of the delegation of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.
The observer’s comments have no legal standing, but they do undermine the government’s own investigations (which concluded the votes were fair) Reuters reports.
They may also spur the opposition — there are large protests expected later in the day in Moscow and other cities, and a large government response seems already planned.
While the official results aren’t out yet, exit polls suggest that Putin has taken around 63% of the total vote, the BBC reports.
At the time of writing the EU has not congratulated Putin on his victory — an unusually standoffish move. An EU spokesperson told European Voice that the organisation is planning to talk to the Russian government about “shortcomings” in the election.
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