'Serious concern' over reported flaws in Russian vote: EU
Reported flaws in Russia's weekend legislative elections were cause for "serious concern," EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Tuesday.
"Reports of procedural violations, such as lack of media impartiality, lack of separation between party and state, and the harassments of independent monitoring attempts, are ... of serious concern," she said in a statement.
Ashton called on Russian authorities to address the "issues raised in the preliminary findings as well as by local observers ... to allow for smooth and fair presidential elections in the spring."
The elections Sunday which saw Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's ruling party return to power with a sharply reduced majority were marred by "frequent procedural violations and instances of apparent manipulation," according to the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe.
It complained of a "lack of level playing field," saying: "The contest was also slanted in favour of the ruling party, the election administration lacked independence, most media were partial and state authorities interfered unduly at different levels."
© 2011 AFP