Germany claims Russian elections undemocratic

3rd December 2007, Comments 0 comments

3rd December 2007, The elections to the Russian Duma were unfair and undemocratic, the German government claims after President Vladimir Putin's United Russia party scores an overwhelming victory.

3rd December 2007

The elections to the Russian Duma were unfair and undemocratic, the German government claims after President Vladimir Putin's United Russia party scores an overwhelming victory.

Measured by German standards, Sunday's poll had been "neither fair, equal nor democratic," government spokesman Thomas Steg said.

Opposition parties and civil rights activists had been hindered in their work before the elections themselves, and there had been restrictions on freedom of speech and the press, Steg added.

The German government expected the authorities in Moscow to probe all allegations and complaints.

Berlin nevertheless remained committed to a strategic partnership with Moscow and aimed to extend political, security and economic cooperation, Steg said.

German politicians have characterized the apparent stability in a Russian politics based on Putin's leadership as "deceptive."

Human Right Commissioner Guenter Nooke, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), noted with concern that the Kremlin appeared unworried by the apparent electoral manipulation and the infringement of voting rights.

Russia's stability was based on pressure and repression, not borne by the people, Nooke said in an interview with Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA).

Ruprecht Polenz, chairman of the German parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, issued a similar warning.

"Basically one has to say: the decisions on Russia's future are being taken in the Kremlin and not by the citizens," CDU member Polenz told the daily Berliner Zeitung.

The perceived stability in Russia depended solely on Putin, Polenz said, speaking before the final results were made known.

"And that is a deceptive stability, as confidence in institutions and not in individuals is what counts for the durability of a system," he said.

The presidential elections in the spring would also be decided in the Kremlin, Polenz predicted.

Polenz said economic cooperation with Russia, a major energy supplier to Germany, was going relatively well. In addition, Moscow was essential in dealing with global crises such as the Iranian nuclear programme and the status of Kosovo.

"The lack of internal stability in the country leads to difficulty in building the necessary confidence in cooperation. Certainly one can cooperate with Putin, but we don't know what kind of Russia we will have to deal with the day after tomorrow," Polenz said.

Polenz called for Germany to express its concerns, as Russia was not impervious to foreign criticism. "We have a certain influence, but we should not overestimate it," he said.

DPA

Subject: German news, Russia, elections

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