Reactions of world leaders to Putin’s victory

Several world leaders have reacted to the victory of Vladimir Putin in the first round election of the Russian presidency, including Chinese President Hu Jintao.

“President Hu Jintao sent a congratulatory message to Mr.Putin” at 3:00 p.m. local time, said the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Liu Weimin, stating that “the election was conducted with success” adding that it was “an internal issue of Russia.”

Representatives of some candidates, opponents, election monitoring organizations and independent media claimed to have documented widespread fraud.

China, which is rare, was the first country to react to the Russian election. Despite a traditional distrust, China and Russia have moved closer recently in their very strong opposition to any condemnation of the Syrian regime, blocking votes on UN resolution.

“We believe that Russia will maintain social stability, further political and economic development and play a greater role in international affairs,” added the spokesman of China’s diplomacy.

According to the final results, Vladimir Putin, previous Russian president from 2000 to 2008 before becoming Prime Minister for four years, won the election in the first round with nearly 64% of the vote.

“With Vladimir Putin, the Sino-Russian relations will continue to grow over the next decade,” the official Xinhua news agency emphasized in its comments. The economies of both countries are “highly complementary”, while deliveries of Russian energy have “not only contributed to the energy security of China but also provided Russia a reliable export market in the Asia-Pacific” , according to Xinhua.

On the diplomatic front, the two powers have recently reached agreement to boycott a UN Security Council resolution condemning the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, said the agency. Both have launched a “warning against a forced regime change imposed by the outside world”, according to the Chinese news agency.

Besides China, Britain reacted to the outcome of presidential elections in Russia, said it was “decisive”, despite “problems” identified by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The OSCE report on the poll “clearly identified problems and we would like to see these issues resolved later, but it is clear that this election has led to a decisive result,” said a spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron, during a press briefing.

“Even the data collected by NGOs has showed Putin secured above the 50% threshold needed for a first round victory,” he said.

Asked about whether Prime Minister David Cameron had planned to call Vladimir Putin, the spokesman replied that it was “likely” to do it “later in the day”.

“London wants to have a constructive relationship with Russia,” he said.

The French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said that “President Putin is our partner for years to come.”

“President Putin has been re-elected. Some observers, including OSCE, have criticized the way the election was conducted. As for France, our goal is to develop the partnership we have with Russia, a strategic partner absolutely in every respect,” he said.

“We hope that in Russian society the violence will be avoided, that freedom of expression to be respected” and “relations with Russia to go forward,” he added.

In a statement, the head of European diplomacy, Catherine Ashton, said that the EU took “note of the preliminary results and the clear victory of Vladimir Putin.”

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for his part, congratulated Vladimir Putin, reported the official news agency SANA, when Russia continues to support Damascus despite the bloody repression of dissent.

“President Bashar al-Assad sent a congratulatory letter to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on the occasion of his victory in the presidential election,” said SANA, adding that Mr. Assad expressed “in his name and on behalf of the Syrian people the most sincere congratulations for the outstanding election. ”

In his message, the Syrian head of state expressed to Mr. Putin “wishes of success to the Russian people the progress and prosperity under Mr. Putin’s leadership.”

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez also congratulated Putin on his victory in the first round of presidential elections in Russia.

Chavez “personally congratulate the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, who initiated a strategic relationship of cooperation between Venezuela and Russia, connected by a very strong bond of friendship”, said in a statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs.