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Russia must listen to its people and allow free and fair elections

February 17, 2012 8:33 AM
By Corlett Neil in ALDE Press Release

Ahead of forthcoming presidential elections in Russia on 4th March in which Prime Minister Putin is expected to emerge as victor following a deal to swap roles with current President Medvedev, the European Parliament adopted a critical resolution today in Strasbourg.

The Liberal and Democrat group has played a key role in underlining the shortcomings of Russia's managed democracy. Kristina Ojuland (Estonia, Reform Party) is the ALDE spokesperson on Russia and lead negotiator on Parliament's resolution:

"President Medvedev has announced sweeping changes to the political system, including the rules on the registration of political parties that have blocked Liberal candidates from participating both in the Duma and presidential elections. It remains to be seen though whether such reforms will be carried through, especially if a new era of authoritarianism under Putin emerges."

"The Kremlin must learn the lessons from recent demonstrations that the Russian people want a free say in choosing their leaders and government. Putin should compete in an open and fair competition and not try to manipulate the outcome. He should also allow for peaceful protest as part of a vibrant democracy rather than stifling or cracking down on all forms of dissent and opposition, particularly following the announcement of the results on 4th of March."

"Whoever wins the election on 4th March, the reports of fraud during December's Duma elections should be vigorously pursued and elections re-run in those areas where rigging or malpractice is proven."

For more information please contact:
Corlett Neil - Tel:+32 2 284 20 77 Mob:+32 478 78 22 84