Sunday, December 02, 2007

Church role in Russia elections queried

Saturday, 1st December 2007. 6:51am
By: Sam Forrest.
Final preparations are underway for tomorrow’s parliamentary election in Russia, which is expected to see a sweeping victory for the United Russia party of President Vladimir Putin.
But critics have questioned the Church’s role following an announcement that Patriarch Alexi II will cast his vote tomorrow.
Last week Putin met with leaders of the Orthodox Church and the ENI news agency is reporting that commentators are calling this ‘undeclared campaigning’ for the President’s party.
Leaders of the Orthodox Church are calling for all Orthodox voters to cast their vote.
Putin is leading the ticket of the United Russia party, and the election to the State Duma, the lower house of parliament. ENI say that he has turned the poll into a plebiscite on his continuing role in power. Presidential elections are scheduled for 2 March 2.
According to the country's constitution, Putin must step down, but he has said he would consider serving as the Prime Minister and supporters are rallying for him to remain as a ‘national leader’.

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