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Merkel congratulates Medvedev as Berlin criticizes vote

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12:22 CET+01:00
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday congratulated Russian president-elect Dmitry Medvedev, but her spokesman regretted irregularities in the run-up to the vote.

"The chancellor congratulates Dimtry Medvedev and looks forward to pursuing our extensive cooperation with Russia under president Medvedev once he takes office on May 8," German government spokesman Thomas Steg said.

He added: "It is without doubt the case that during the election campaign situations arose where it became clear that democratic rules were not always upheld." Steg reiterated criticism made by the German government in the run-up to Sunday's vote that Berlin regretted international observers could not carry out their job properly.

"But this does not change the fact that following his election success, the chancellor wishes Mr Medvedev good luck and success with the difficult task ahead," Steg said.

Steg said Merkel planned to speak with Medvedev and outgoing President Vladimir Putin "in person as soon as possible" but could not confirm press reports that they would meet on Saturday.

Near complete results of the presidential election on Monday showed Medvedev claiming over 70 percent of votes. Steg said the German government saw his overwhelming victory as "a sign of the Russian people's desire for continuity." He added that Merkel "welcomed the fact that Russia's future president has repeatedly signalled his intention to modernise the Russian state and to entrench the rule of law."

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