European Parliament Criticizes Russia for Election Rules

Posted July 7th, 2011 at 10:40 am (UTC-5)
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The European Parliament is calling on Russia to guarantee free elections and register opposition parties.

A Parliament resolution passed Thursday in Strasbourg said difficulties faced by political parties effectively constrain political competition in Russia.

The parliament said it deplores the decision to reject the registration of the People's Freedom Party for December's State Duma elections.

The resolution also urges Russia to allow an election observer mission from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Council of Europe.

Russia says criticism of its decision to deny the registration of the People's Freedom Party is “inappropriate and unfounded.”

The registration decision barred some of the Kremlin's most vocal opponents from the vote, underscoring Western concerns about the legitimacy of the parliamentary poll and the March 2012 presidential election.

President Dmitry Medvedev said last month the People's Freedom Party may get on the ballot for the vote if it corrects technical grounds for its exclusion.

The Russian Justice Ministry rejected the opposition party's application, saying the 46,000 signatures of supporters required for registration included dead people and teenagers. It also said it had received appeals by signatories withdrawing support from the party.