Watchdog Won't Monitor Russia Election

European body blames Moscow for 'delays and restrictions'
By Ryan Riley,  Newser User
Posted Nov 16, 2007 2:05 PM CST
Young people, who called themselves anarchists, pretend they worship a giant election poster of the main pro-Kremlin party United Russia during their one minute-long flash mobbing event just outside the...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – An international election watchdog agency has canceled its mission to monitor Russia’s December vote because its delegation's visa applications “have continuously been denied,” reports the Washington Post. The lack of oversight by the agency, part of the 55-member Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, is expected to heighten concerns about the legitimacy of the elections.

Russia’s election chief maintains that the agency submitted its forms late. A poll out today shows 66% in favor of the United Russia party loyal to Vladimir Putin, who is stepping down as president. “United Russia’s lead is so great that these elections are reminiscent of Soviet elections, where there was no alternative” said the polling center director.