Schulz on presidential elections in Russia
European Parliament President Martin Schulz made the following statement on the presidential elections in Russia:
"I have closely followed the presidential elections and their outcome in Russia. I have taken note of the conclusions made by the international observers. I am concerned that the electoral process lacked fairness, notably with regards to a limited choice of candidates and irregularities in the procedure. I expect the authorities to investigate those reported irregularities quickly.
I regret that candidates did not have equal access to media and state resources. Most of the media clearly favoured one candidate.
I welcome the reawakening of civil activism in Russia, which was clearly visible at peaceful countrywide protests during the campaign. They showed that the Russian people expect full democratic rights to be able to determine the future of their country.
Now that the elections are over, the Russian leadership should meet the promises of political and electoral reforms, of improving the rule of law and respect for human rights, of ensuring independence of judiciary and rooting out corruption. The authorities should respond to increasingly strong voices calling for democratisation of the country. It is now up to the Russian leadership to regain the trust of a significant part of the Russian society, which manifested discontent during the campaign.
Russia is a strategic partner for the European Union. We should work towards improving our ties, including in trade, energy security and global stability. However, our strategic partnership should be based on the respect for values such as democracy, the rule of law and freedom of expression."