Mar. 5 - International observers say the Russian presidential elections were skewed in favour of Vladimir Putin. Nick Rowlands reports.
Speaking at a news conference in Moscow, international elections monitors said Russia's presidential election was not fair. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE (PACE) TINY KOX, SAYING: "The conditions for the campaign were clearly skewed in favour of one candidate, also, overly restrictive candidate registration requirements limited genuine competition. While all candidates had access to media, only one candidate - the current prime minister - was given clear advantage in the coverage." Official results show Putin won about 64 percent of the vote in his bid for a third presidential term. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF THE ORGANIZATION FOR SECURITY AND CO-OPERATION IN EUROPE PARLIAMENTARY ASSOCIATE (OSCE PA), TONINO PICULA, SAYING: "It was not a level playing field and abuse of the executive power as well as the inappropriate use of administrative resources ensured that the ultimate winner of the election was never in doubt." Monitors also said that although voting was assessed positively overall, many irregularities and in some cases illegal activities were observed. Putin's opponents, fearing he will smother political and economic reforms, refuse to recognise the result of the election. The former KGB spy has already served for 12 consecutive years as president and then premier. Nick Rowlands, Reuters