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Requirements For Free Elections In Russia Not Met – France



Requirements For Free Elections In Russia Not Met – France

The election that prolonged Russian President Vladimir Putin’s term for a another six years was held in the face of “repression,” according to France, which also praised the “many” Russians who voiced their disapproval.

The French foreign ministry said Paris “had taken note of the expected outcome” of the three-day polls, which saw Putin obtain a fifth term in the Kremlin.

The 71-year-old Russian leader, who has been in power since 2000, ran unopposed by any serious rival and after his most vocal critic, Alexei Navalny, died suddenly in an Arctic prison last month.

“The conditions for a free, pluralist and democratic election were not met once again,” the French foreign ministry said.

It said the vote took place amid “increasing repression of civil society and all forms of opposition to the regime”.

“France salutes the courage of the many Russian citizens who have peacefully demonstrated their opposition to this attack on their fundamental political rights,” the ministry said.

Thousands of people in Russia and abroad heeded the call of Navalny’s team and other members of the Russian opposition, who had urged voters to turn up at polling stations at midday on Sunday in a “Noon Against Putin” protest.

The action was seen as Navalny’s last wish.

France noted that Navalny died “in part as a result of the Russian authorities’ tightening of his conditions of detention”.

The foreign ministry also lamented the fact that critics of Putin’s war against Ukraine, now in its third year, were not allowed to stand in the polls.

Paris also said it regretted that Russia had not invited in election observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

And it condemned the holding of the polls in areas of southern and eastern Ukraine currently occupied by Russia.

“France does not and will never recognise the holding and results of these so-called ‘elections’, and reaffirms its attachment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” it said.

French President Emmanuel Macron indicated he would not congratulate Putin on his victory.

“Alexei Navalny’s death and the banning of all (Putin’s) opponents mean that you can’t congratulate someone on an election marked by the death of those who fought for pluralism in Russia,” he told French daily Le Parisien.


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