Russia vote irregularities 'worrying', says Germany
Germany on Wednesday added its weight to international concern over this weekend's parliamentary vote in Russia, amid reports of widespread irregularities.
Speaking at a regular news briefing here, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel said: "The way the Duma (Russian parliament) vote was carried out was, in some places, a worry."
The spokesman, Steffen Seibert, called on Moscow to clear up reports that the vote was manipulated, as the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe election watchdog complained of "frequent procedural violations."
Berlin "has been following recent events in Moscow with great attention," Seibert said, as protests have greeted the vote that saw Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's ruling party return to power with a sharply reduced majority.
Germany "expects that Russia will live up to its democratic obligations as a constitutional state," Seibert said.
"That includes equal opportunities for political opponents, the right to protest and the right to a fair trial," he added.
Internet-based protesters in Russia have vowed further demonstrations in the days to come, despite a warning by police that participants in unsanctioned protests would be arrested.
The EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Tuesday that reported flaws in Russia's elections were cause for "serious concern."
And former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev earlier on Wednesday called for the vote to be re-run due to fraud.
© 2011 AFP