Vladimir Putin defends election result
Thursday 15 December 2011
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said today that the results of Russia's parliamentary elections reflected the people's will, and that the opposition had alleged voting fraud purely to strengthen its position.
"The results of this election undoubtedly reflect the real balance of power in the country," he said. "It's very good that United Russia has preserved its leading position."
He added that a drop in support for his party was a natural result of the global financial crisis of 2008 that has taken its toll on the country.
United Russia lost about 20% of its seats in the election and no longer has the two-thirds majority that allowed it to change the constitution at will in the previous parliament. It barely retained a majority in the State Duma, and opposition parties and some vote monitors said that even that result was inflated by ballot-stuffing and other violations.
Mr Putin brushed off the vote fraud claims as part of the opposition's struggle for power, and said that any complaints should go to the courts. He alleged that some of the protest leaders have been acting at Western behest to weaken Russia.
"The opposition goal is to fight for power, and it's looking for every chance to advance," he said, insisting that the vote results genuinely reflected the people's will.
Mr Putin also sought a positive spin on last weekend's protest against vote fraud, that drew tens of thousands in the greatest challenge to his dozen years in power, saying he was glad to see a rise in public activity as a result of his rule.
The unprecedented wave of protest poses a significant challenge to Mr Putin less than three months before presidential elections in which he seeks to return to the Kremlin.
He sought to counter public discontent with the alleged fraud by proposing to place web cameras at each of Russia's more than 90,000 polling stations for the March 4 presidential vote.
"Let them be there next to every ballot box to avoid any falsifications," he said.
The opposition is calling for an annulment of the December 4 parliamentary election, and the holding of a new vote. Mr Putin's insistence that the election was valid indicates no immediate resolution to the political tensions is in sight.
The opposition has been energised by the huge turnout at the Moscow protest and simultaneous rallies in some 60 other cities.
- 1 Home Office says Nigerian asylum-seeker can’t be a lesbian as she’s got children
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 4 Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway amid dense fog
- 5 Apple and Google users being spied on for a decade because of 'Freak' security flaw
The City of the Monkey God: Archaeologists claim to have found city lost for 1,000 years in remote Honduran jungle
Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway amid dense fog
Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
Bubonic plague-carrying fleas found on New York City rats
London property boom built on dirty money
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...
£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...
£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and reputable Not for Profit o...