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Verhofstadt: "Russia cannot be considered a democracy."


05 Dec 2011


Europe's East

Guy Verhofstadt, President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Group in the European Parliament made the following statement on the occasion of the elections to the Russian State Duma of 4 December 2011:

Russia has turned its back on democracy. Yesterday's vote clearly demonstrates that it is impossible to tell who the citizens really voted for. We can expect a similar charade for the Presidential elections in March 2012. Russia, as a full member of the Council of Europe and the OSCE, has obligations and responsibilities to safeguard democracy and the rule of law. Elections were marred by non-registration of democratic opposition parties, lack of media pluralism and blatant vote rigging on an unprecedented scale in favour of the ruling regime. These stage-managed elections strip the democratic institutions in Russia of credibility and legitimacy.”

“It is time for the European Union to come clean and take the side of the Russian citizens. Russia is not a democracy. In this light, the forthcoming EU-Russia Summit can only be credible and useful if it has democracy and the rule of law as the main item on the agenda. A new EU-Russia Strategy should be drawn up by the High Representative during the first half of 2012. Credentials of the Russian State Duma delegations to various international parliamentary bodies should be challenged and the European Parliament should have a discussion on how these elections affect our contacts with Russia."

Kristiina Ojuland (Estonia, Reform Party), ALDE spokesperson on Russia added:

"The outcome of the elections reflects the current political collusion that is shaping modern day Russia - with the ruling elite giving only the impression that the Russian people have a choice in who governs them but sadly the interests of the few will remain over-ruling the people. The EU ought to take a clear stand on the absence of genuinely free and fair elections in Russia in order to encourage Russian citizens to voice their demands for human rights, civil liberties, democracy and the rule of law."

The ALDE Group has requested a debate on Russia with the High Representative Catherine Ashton to be held in Strasbourg next week.

For more information please contact:

Corlett Neil - Tel:+32 2 284 20 77 Mob:+32 478 78 22 84



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