Berlin: The European Union criticized Russian parliamentary elections on Monday, saying free speech and assembly rights had been violated in the run-up to the elections.
Benita Ferrero-Waldner, External Affairs Commissioner, EU said she preferred to wait for reports from election monitors before commenting on the vote itself, but said problems were evident ahead of the elections.
“We saw some violations of basic rights, notably free speech and assembly rights,” said Waldner.
Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Russia saw President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party register a landslide victory after which opposition parties and monitors have criticized the outcome, citing biased media coverage and overt government support for Putin’s party.
Ferrero-Waldner said: “It was very unfortunate that the main election monitoring arm of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) had pulled out, citing obstruction from Russian authorities.”
Russia’s Central Election Commission said that with almost all votes counted, United Russia had won 64.1% of the votes, nearly six times as many as the nearest challenger, the Communist party.