Duma Deputy Calls U.S. Election Unfair

A senior lawmaker has criticized the U.S. presidential election as unfair and accused European election observers of failing to take Washington to task for "quite a lot of violations."

Leonid Slutsky, the first deputy chairman of the State Duma's International Affairs Committee, said he was dismayed that the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, which observes elections for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, had applied "double standards" for elections in the United States and Russia.

"The ODIHR, which traditionally criticizes everything and everyone in the post-Soviet space, is a prime example of double standards," said Slutsky, who watched Tuesday's election in the United States as a member of a small team of Russian observers, RIA-Novosti reported Thursday.

He said European election observers had watched the vote also, "but I haven't heard their voices" about violations.

"We know that there were quite a lot of violations," he said, without elaborating.

The ODIHR mission noted in an assessment of the election released Wednesday that alleged violations such as fraudulent voter registration, disenfranchisement of voters and the malfunctioning of voting systems had featured prominently in the U.S. public debate. "They were widely covered and investigated by the media, and legal action was taken in some states to address them," it said in a statement.

But mission head Andrei Glover applauded the overall election. "We have seen an election that displayed all the fundamentals of a genuinely democratic vote," Glover said.

Democratic Senator Barack Obama easily defeated Republican Senator John McCain in the election.

Earlier this year, the ODIHR refused to send a team to Russia to observe the March presidential election in protest of a Central Election Commission decision to impose "severe restrictions on the composition and duration of the mission." The organization also canceled a planned mission ahead of last year's State Duma elections following a dispute over Russian restrictions.