Vote "neither fair nor equal," Western vote monitor says
(dpa) - Dmitry Medvedev's landslide win to succeed Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin was "neither free nor fair," the chief of the sole Western election observer mission said Monday.
"We said three weeks ago that the vote was neither free nor fair, and none of our concerns have been met," Andreas Gross, head of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) mission told journalists Monday.
Russia's 96,000 polling stations were attended by a meager 300 vote observers after the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) boycotted the election, citing pre-election restrictions.
Vote monitors bemoaned the unequality of candidate registration and the abuse of administrative resources by first deputy prime minister Medvedev allowing blanket television coverage.
"For an election to be good it takes a good process, not just a good election day," Gross stressed.
With more than 95 per cent of the votes counted, Medvedev had 70.1 per cent of the vote.
His challengers had little less than 30 per cent of the vote between them.
Veteran Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov earned 17.84 per cent, ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky had 9.43 per cent, while the little-known Andrei Bogdanov won 1.28 per cent - though all are considered Kremlin-friendly candidates.