The OSCE has released its verdict on the election results: ‘clearly skewed in favour of one of the contestants‘, Vladimir Putin, who was given ‘a clear advantage over his competitors in terms of media presence‘. Here’s the conclusion of the official statement, which does some serious pointing-out-of-the-obvious:
“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.
“In this election, candidates could not compete on an equal footing. Although the authorities made some effort to improve transparency, there remained widespread mistrust in the integrity of the election process. As a first step, all allegations of electoral violations need to be thoroughly investigated. In an encouraging development, we have seen a great number of citizens taking part in overseeing the election. Their active involvement can be a powerful vehicle for increasing confidence in future elections,” said Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini, the Head of the Election Observation Mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).