On Sunday 18th March, Russian President Vladimir Putin was reelected for his fourth mandate with the 76% of votes to serve another six-year term, thus until 2024, when he will turn seventy-two years old. Such result was certainly not unexpected: indeed, as stated by Georg Link, Special Co-ordinator and leader of the short-term OSCE observer mission, “choice without real competition […] is not real choice”. Although the Russian Central Election Commission has administered the process efficiently and openly, Jan Petersen, OSCE Ambassador and head of OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission, has observed that presidential election took place in “an overly controlled legal and political environment”. After constant efforts to promote the turnout that were ultimately “more visible than the campaign itself”, persistent pressure on civil society, the absence of critical reporting in most media and restrictions on the fundamental freedoms “have limited the space for political engagement and resulted in a lack of genuine competition”.
It is also worth considering the context in which the presidential elections took place: since the beginning of March, the Skripal affair has indeed provoked a sever and ongoing diplomatic crises between Russia and the United Kingdom that has ultimately involved also the European Union which can not do other than condemn the attack against Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.
For further information:
OSCE Website: https://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/375661
TASS – Russian News Agency Website http://tass.com/world/995073