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Czech parties: Russia polls’ result in accordance with expectation

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Prague, March 19 (CTK) – The outcome of the Russian presidential election, in which Vladimir Putin defended his post already in the first round this weekend, has been expected, representatives of Czech parties in parliament and also President Milos Zeman said.

Zeman congratulated Putin on his victory.

“I do not conceal it that I expected your re-election, which is therefore no surprise to me. Your convincing victory shows that a crushing majority of Russians prefer stability, predictability and a [positive] prospect that you embody,” Zeman wrote in a telegram to Putin, which the Czech Presidential Office released on its website.

Zeman wrote that the strong voter support reflects the confidence Russian citizens put in Putin’s presidency.

He said it would be a “pleasure for him to continue their friendly, open and productive personal contacts” and is looking forward to be able to reciprocate the hospitality Russia showed for him during his visit last year and welcome Putin in the Czech Republic.

“Everybody expected it. It seems no surprise to me,” Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) told journalists.

Babis recalled the tension between Russia and European countries that has recently escalated over the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy and double agent working for Britain. London claims Moscow is behind the attempted murder.

“The relations with Russia are markedly worsening after the attack in Britain. We’ll see how it is going to develop,” Babis said.

Jan Hamacek, who heads the Social Democrats (CSSD) who are negotiating about a possible coalition government with the ANO movement, said he hoped Putin would try to lower the tension in Europe in the next years.

“Whole Europe may profit from the cooperation, but the ball is in the Russian court now. The Russian government could begin with constructively approaching the investigation of the attack against former Russian agent Skripal in Britain,” Hamacek told CTK.

Putin won over 76 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.

Right-wing opposition leader Petr Fiala (Civic Democrats, ODS) also said the Russian presidential election resulted as expected. “It has been proved that democracy is not only an election mechanism, but requires more,” he tweeted.

Fiala said he fully respects the Russian choice. “Our choice is not to get under the influence of Russia,” he said, adding that he wants “the Putinist Russia” to respect this.

The opposition Pirates noted that the Russian authorities limited the political competition by not letting opposition leader Alexei Navalny run for president.

“To make sure, Navalny was excluded still before the elections and so only candidates without any chance of succeeding took part in the elections,” Pirates MP Mikulas Peksa told CTK.

“The question is whether the state propaganda or rather the manipulations with ballots decided the elections,” Peksa said.

Right-wing opposition TOP 09 deputy chairwoman Marketa Pekarova Adamova said the Russian elections were not democratic since there is no political competition in Russia.

Communist (KSCM) leader Vojtech Filip congratulated Putin on his re-election. He, too, said the result was expected.

“Russia undoubtedly is a significant player in the global political field and I believe correct relations will continue to be maintained with the Czech Republic,” Filip said.

Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) chairman Pavel Belobradek said the Russian election was not democratic and the winner had been chosen beforehand. “The task [of the elections] was only to secure the highest possible turnout that would provide the regime with a kind of legitimacy,” Belobradek tweeted.

He said there is neither free media nor normal political competition in Russia, where Putin faced no relevant rival in the presidential race.

Mayors and Independents (STAN) chairman Petr Gazdik said democracy is a game with clear rules and unsure result, while anything else is a game with unclear rules and a beforehand sure result.

“The election of the Russian head of state does not belong to the former category, unfortunately,” Gazdik said.

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