Discrepancies were found in every third polling station, the organization for security and co-operation in europe (OSCE) announced in moscow on monday.
German chancellor angela merkel (CDU) called on putin for reforms. The opposition refuses to recognize the election. Around 20,000 opponents of putin protested against the result in the center of moscow this evening, the newspaper "novaya gazeta," which is critical of the kremlin, reported on its website. They demanded in choruses "russia without putin!". At least 100 opponents of putin were arrested at a second, unauthorized rally in the metropolis. At a demonstration in st. Petersburg, about 70 people were arrested.
After his victory putin offered cooperation to the defeated competitors. "Let’s solve russia’s problems together," the future president said. He called for a clarification of the massive complaints about violations during the vote. The outgoing head of the kremlin, dmitry medvedev, also signaled his willingness to meet the opposition halay. He surprisingly instructed the judiciary to take action until 1 january. April the sentencing of the imprisoned kremlin opponent and ex-ol manager mikhail khodorkovsky as well as 32 other prison sentences.
Human rights activists and political scientists assessed this as a political manover. The release of khodorkovsky is a main demand of the opposition and the international community. The announcement was encouraging, said sabine leutheusser-schnarrenberger, the federal minister of justice, in berlin. She now hopes for concrete steps.
Putin will enter the kremlin as president for the third time in may, after 2000 and 2004. Chancellor merkel announced in berlin that she continues to back a "strategic partnership" with russia. The modernization of russia must also be a "political and social modernization. Democracy and human rights needed to be strengthened. Germany and russia have agreed on a "modernization partnership," for example, on cooperation in the field of energy efficiency.
"This election has not been fair," said OSCE diplomat heidi tagliavini. In many places, ballots were stuffed into the ballot box. Democratic standards to which russia has committed itself as a member of the council of europe have not been fully met, said tiny kox of the netherlands as well. The conditions were tailored to putin’s needs. In addition, political competition was limited by the exclusion of the opposition.
Vladimir churov, a pro-kremlin election official, rejected the accusations made by independent russian election observers. The election campaign was more open, cleaner and more transparent than anywhere else in the world. Despite the accusations, the election commission declared putin the winner with 63.6 percent of the vote, according to the preliminary official results. The final result will follow in the next few days. The head of government remained well below his 2004 result (71.3 percent), but above his first score in 2000 (52.9 percent). The turnout was 65.3 percent of the approximately 110 million eligible voters.
In moscow, putin’s approval rating was only 47.22 percent, according to the authorities. Even in his hometown of st. Petersburg fell short of the national average with 58.7 percent. There had been unprecedented protests against putin in both cities.
NATO secretary-general anders fogh rasmussen said in brussel that he hoped for a "positive dialogue" between the alliance and moscow after the election. Russia strongly rejects nato’s planned missile defense in europe as a threat to its security.
According to the preliminary official results, communist leader gennady zyuganov came in second in the presidential election with 17.18 percent. Billionaire mikhail prokhorov got 7.98 percent, ultranationalist vladimir zhirinovsky 6.22 percent and left-wing conservative sergei mironov 3.85 percent. The moscow stock exchange reacted more firmly to the vote with a plus of 1.47 percent.
Putin had already declared himself the winner of the vote shortly after the polls closed. Under amended constitution, he now rules for six years for the first time, two years longer than last time in office with almost unlimited powers. Medvedev to be given the subordinate post of head of government.
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