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Western monitors criticise Russian polls

world Updated: Dec 05, 2011 23:27 IST

A day after parliamentary elections delivered steep losses to United Russia, the party led by Prime Minister Vladimir V Putin, Western monitors said the vote was marred by limited political competition, ballot box stuffing and the use of government resources for the party’s benefit.

The monitoring branch of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said on Monday that while voting was “well organised over all,” the process deteriorated seriously during the vote count late Sunday night.

With 95% of the votes processed, United Russia led with a shade under 50%, trailed by the Communists with 19%, Just Russia with 13% and the Liberal Democrats with nearly 12%, according to the Central Election Commission.

Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini, who headed the mission of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, compared the elections to “a game in which only some players are allowed on the pitch, and then the field is tilted in favour of one of the players.”

New York Times