Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2012-03-14-Speech-3-417-000"

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"Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, the election observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) found that the Russian presidential elections were neither free nor fair. The local election observers were also able to verify that the official final result was not correct. Although Mr Putin’s campaign leaders claimed that this was the cleanest election that Russia has ever experienced, it leads, conversely, to the conclusion that things were not all above board in the previous elections. That goes for the fraudulent Duma elections, in particular. Under the restrictive conditions and one-sided advantages, we cannot exclude the fact that Vladimir Putin narrowly won the presidential elections. However, it was an election with no alternatives, a victory without opponents, as Mr Putin’s challengers were not on the ballot slip but on the street protesting against his policies. It was to be expected that, with all his resources and with all the power that he has over the state apparatus and the media, Mr Putin should decide the election in his favour in the first round. That is one way to win elections, but not the country’s confidence for the future. We need to take note of that, but we should hold back on our congratulations as far as possible. The government of Russia has, unfortunately, missed the opportunity to overcome the existing division in society by holding fair elections. However, Russia needs these critical and creative citizens in order to develop. Their exclusion would only lead to further emigration and outflow of capital. Mr Putin has been in power for 12 years. His promise of stability means, in practice, stagnation. He will at best get the publicised military reform under way, entailing armament on a huge scale. The repeatedly promised economic and social modernisation is, to a large extent, yet to be realised. Rather, the most recent defamatory statements suggest that he remains trapped in his outdated world view, his KGB methods and the constraints of an autocratic system. That is why there are great expectations of the opposition. It must now attempt to ensure that the street protests do not become an empty ritual and just a roll-call count. Of course, political change in Russia must be desired and supported by civil society itself, but we, the EU, can assist this process by supporting, on the basis of a new electoral law, the unobstructed approval of parties and a fair and transparent election campaign, the challenge of the protest movement and its main demand for early Duma elections. That should speed up the structuring and setting of objectives called for by the opposition and, ultimately, demonstrate that there is an electable alternative to Vladimir Putin in Russia."@en1

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